HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – The Vicksburg National Military Park received its largest expansion on Tuesday, July 2.
The State of Mississippi donated more than 800 acres to the National Park Service.
The land was part of the Champion Hill Battlefield, which was a pivotal battle in the Campaign for Vicksburg during the Civil War.
Bob Vogel, who is the Regional Director for the Southeast National Park Service, said, “The story of what happened here is so important in our country’s history. It’s all a part of what brings us together and helps us know our past. It’s exciting we are still adding lands to the National Military Park and telling a bigger story that wasn’t just in the Town of Vicksburg. It was throughout the area.”
In 2014, lawmakers passed the National Defense Authorization Act to preserve nationally significant sites. U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith said, “There was a lot of work involved in this. For many, many years. To see it coming into fruition, not only for the people of Mississippi families and military’s that are serving today, we don’t forget about our past.”
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves said, “The Vicksburg National Military Park and campaign will be one of the largest national military parks in the entire country. We think that’s going to lead to significant investments and quite frankly, a large amount of tourists coming into the area.”
The Vicksburg National Military Park generates about $38 million in revenue for the City of Vicksburg.
Friends of the Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign want to add sites in Port Gibson and Raymond in order to show visitors how the battlefields appeared in 1863. Organizers are trying to raise about $3 million to add additional acres to the park.