Officials respond to damage at Vicksburg battlefield park

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — The mayor of Vicksburg says federal officials are responding to his call for attention to road and erosion damage that have closed nearly a third of Vicksburg National Military Park after a winter of heavy rains.

The Vicksburg Post reports that a National Park Service incident management team is expected to be at the park this week to stabilize some areas and make plans for more permanent repairs.

The park is the site of one of the Civil War’s most significant battles and a linchpin of tourism in Vicksburg.

Mayor George Flaggs, a Democrat turned independent, has long cultivated ties with Republican leaders. He wrote a personal letter to President Donald Trump warning about the damage to the park and Vicksburg National Cemetery. Flaggs wrote that an older section of the cemetery that includes unknown burials and U.S. Colored Troops are endangered, with some covered by mudslides.

“The White House responded to the mayor’s letter the same day and within 24 hours had a representative from the Secretary of the Interior in talks with Mayor Flaggs’ office,” said Bess Averette, executive director of the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign. The group raises private funds to preserve the park and other sites associated with General Ulysses S. Grant’s capture of the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith visited the park on Feb. 21 and said she would make repairs one of her top priorities.

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