Old Warren Co. Courthouse -- Vicksburg MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 32° 21.120 W 090° 52.738
15S E 699593 N 3581430
Quick Description: On 04 July 1863, the Confederate flag was replaced with the United States flag on top of the old Warren County Courthouse in Vicksburg. At that instant, everyone knew the siege was over.
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 9/29/2014 10:49:16 AM
Waymark Code: WMMJPR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 0

Long Description:
The 1858 old Warren County Mississippi courthouse was built with slave labor in a hill on downtown Vicksburg. Today it serves as a museum, with many interesting artifacts from the Confederate period.

From the National Register nomination form for the courthouse: (visit link)

"The Old Warren County Courthouse is a large two story rectangular brick building, originally faced with smooth stucco, now with cement, scored to give the appearance of ashlar masonry. The shorter ends of the building have four columned temple porticos with fluted Ionic columns supporting a full entablature which runs around the entire building.

The long sides have six columned porticos of identical design. The well proportioned thirty-foot columns with a decorative Athenian band below the capitol give an imposing dignity to the structure, an effect which is heightened by the hilltop location.

A large well scaled tower adds further visual impact. A great octagonal drum rests upon a low broad square base which rises from the roof. Slender engaged Corinthian columns mark the angles and support a full heavy entablature which adds needed weight to the central octagon section.

Between the columns are doors which open onto the low terrace base. These have semicircular fanlights and are framed by smaller Corinthian columns in turn supporting entablatures for the entrances which correspond to that of the octagon itself.

Above this a lighter circular cupola supported by slender colonettes shelters the tower bell. Four small octagonal buildings at the corners were originally cistern houses for catching water to fight fires.

. . .

HISTORY

In 1859 builders George and Thomas Weldon of Antrim, Ireland, began
construction of a new courthouse for Warren County, Mississippi. William Weldon, a brother of the contractors furnished the design. The builders utilized trained slave labor and burned brick for the courthouse at the site. A direct tax levy provided the necessary capital for other materials.

The building was completed in 1861 and later played a significant role in the siege of Vicksburg. . .

When the Union ocean-going fleet arrived below Vicksburg on May 18, 1862, Commander S. Phillips Lee ordered Brigader General H. L. Smith to surrender the city. After Smith refused, Union warships bombarded Vicksburg and its defenders for two months but failed to break the spirit of the Confederates.

Sketches and drawings prepared by artists and illustrators who accompanied the fleet show the Courthouse as Vicksburg's most prominent landmark.

Because the navy failed to take the city, Major General U. S. Grant moved down from the north in the autumn of 1862. His army spent the winter camped on the Louisiana flood plain opposite Vicksburg where they looked across the Mississippi and saw the Vicksburg bluffs and the Warren County Courthouse.

Their goal became simplified in the complexities of war: unfurl the colors from the cupola of the Courthouse and the battle would be won. In April, satisfied that the Confederate were using the Courthouse as an observation post, Grant had a battery of 30-pound guns placed with orders to destroy the structure. Union guns/ however, failed to inflict serious damage.

On April 30/ 1863/ Grant crossed the Mississippi 30 miles below Vicksburg. In a lightening 18-day campaign, Grant defeated the Confederates in five battles and approached Vicksburg from the east. An epic 47-day siege ensued. From their rifle-pits and batteries, Union soldiers looked across Confederate defenses at the Courthouse.
Finally on July 4, the Confederates surrendered. The battle-hardened veterans of Grant's army moved into Vicksburg and raised the flag over the Courthouse as a symbol of their victory, while troops paraded around the building.

Coming the day after the Union victory at Gettysburg, the fall of Vicksburg was a crucial blow to the Confederate cause. Not only was the South cut in half, but Grant's large forces were free for further action, and the Mississippi River was again open for northern trade.

Warren County continued to use the old building until 1939, when a new
courthouse was erected directly opposite the old one on Cherry Street.
Except for a few offices, the structure remained vacant until 1942. At
that time Mrs. Eve W. Davis of Vicksburg spearheaded a drive to preserve the building for use as a museum and obtained occupancy rights from the Warren County Board of Supervisors. While the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society assumed responsibility for the custody of the structure, the county continues to bear the cost of maintenance."
Related Website: [Web Link]

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Old Warren Co. Courthouse -- Vicksburg MS 10/1/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it