The bluffs over which Vicksburg is spread are formed in part of a peculiar loess formation, a brown dust, or more accurately, a rock flour, blown eons ago from the Mississippi basin. The loess, caked 20 to 40 feet thick on all elevations and covered with jungle-like vegetation, often rises in sheer precipices. This makes a wild, rugged contour that has the appearance of distant castles, and gives to Vicksburg the air of a city in perpetual siege. This is not inappropriate, however, for by a siege Vicksburg is best known…
— Mississippi, A Guide To the Magnolia State (WPA, 1938)
Vicksburg, Mississippi is a river town. It was built around the river and has long been an important point of commerce. As such, it was a critical area to control during the U.S. Civil War, and the impetus for the Siege of Vicksburg — what may be considered the turning point in favor of the North. The forested hills of the city, along with the grounds of Vicksburg National Military Park still conceal the trenches, bunkers, and berms used both to defend and eventually capture the city.
The river, while vital to the economy, can also have devastating effects. In the Great Flood of 1927 — one of the most destructive river floods in U.S. history — refugees from the Mississippi Delta region fled to the hills of Vicksburg. Today, an improved levee system, including floodwalls, protects the city from rising waters, and marks the height of water from the past, showing both where Vicksburg has been and where it is going.
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David Jones lives in the great state of Mississippi. You can find him on tumblr at woodprof.tumblr.com.