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Willis-Cowan Home -- Vicksburg MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 20.910 W 090° 52.674
15S E 699701 N 3581044
Quick Description: The Willis-Cowan Home in Vicksburg was selected by Confederate Army General Pemberton as his Headquarters during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863.
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 9/23/2014 9:27:09 AM
Waymark Code: WMMHK4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Willis-Cowan Home was a large antebellum dwelling for a prosperous family, until the Civil War came along. Confederate general John C. Pemberton, commander of the CSA troops at Vicksburg, chose this home as his headquarters and used it until he was forced to move his headquarters out of range on Union artillery.

From the US National Register Nomination Form: (visit link)

This large and impressive antebellum home has been
known since the Civil War as the Willis-Cowan Home or Pemberton
House. During the Civil War, it was selected by Lieutenant
General John C. Pemberton as one of his headquarters during
the forty-seven day Siege of Vicksburg. During this time,
it withstood heavy shelling. Emma Balfour, wife of Dr. William
T. Balfour, lived next door and kept a detailed diary of the
siege. She described the heavy shelling of May 30 as follows:
"I never saw anything like it. People were running in every
direction to find a place of safety. The shells fell literally
like hail. Mrs. Willis' house was struck twice and two horses
in front of her door were killed. General Pemberton and staff
had to quit it."

The ownership of the property on which the Pemberton
House is located dates back to the Reverend Newet Vick, founder
of Vicksburg, who acquired the property sometime between 1814
and 1819. After the death of Mr. Vick in 1819, his estate was
divided among his heirs, and his daughter Martha acquired this

The house was probably built between 1834 and 1836
by William Bobb. In 1836 he sold the property to Mrs. Martha
P. Willis, daughter of Burwell Vick and the mother of John
Willis, who distinguished himself as a soldier in the Mexican
War and was a successful planter at Panther Burn Plantation
in the Mississippi Delta. At the outbreak of war in 1846, he
organized the Vicksburg Southrons in Warren County and served
with the First Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers, commanded
by Colonel Jefferson Davis, in the battles of Vera Cruz, Monterey,
and Buena Vista. After the war, he returned to live in
his mother's home. Willis mortgaged the property in 1874, and
the courts subsequently sold it to Alice B. Crutcher in 1888.
Two years later, Mrs. M. F. Cowan, Wife of Ludwell Blackstone
Cowan, purchased the home.

Cowan, who lived in the home from 1890 until his death in 1892, was a lieutenant in Captain J. J. Cowan's Weldon Battery, builders of the Vicksburg and Raymond courthouses) in a project to devise, construct and plant torpedoes in the Yazoo River. They developed an electric spark torpedo, the first ever used against a United States warship, which sank the Union gunboat Cairo on December 12, 1862, Remnants, thought to be parts of the torpedo, were obtained by Lieutenant Cowan. The remnants have been exhibited in the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg and are now in the possession of Dr. Harry Pierce of Vicksburg.

The home, presently unoccupied, was bought many years
ago by the Sisters of Mercy and used by them until recently as
a kindergarten."
Earliest Recorded Date of Construction: 1/1/1834

Additional Dates of Construction:

Architectural Period/Style: Federal/Greek Revival

Type of Building e.g. Country House, Stately Home, Manor:

Interesting Historical Facts or Connections:
One of the Headquarters of General John Pemberton, CSA, during the siege of Vicksburg

Listed Building Status (if applicable): US National Register of Historic Places

Main Material of Construction: brich

Private/Public Access: publicly accessible

Admission Fee (if applicable): 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Related Website: [Web Link]


Architect (if known): Not listed

Landscape Designer (if known): Not listed

Opening Hours (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Tell us about your visit with any details of interest about the property. Please supply at least one original photograph from a different aspect taken on your current visit.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Benchmark Blasterz visited Willis-Cowan Home -- Vicksburg MS 9/24/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it