State History
Learn about the history of Mississippi and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across Mississippi. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of Mississippi fun and educational.
Things to See & Do in Mississippi
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
Located on MS Hwy 370 six miles west of Baldwyn, this one-acre site commemorates a battle which had one objective-- make impossible the threat of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to interfere with General William T. Sherman's railroad supply line from Nashville to Chattanooga during the Atlanta campaign. Forrest scored a decisive victory over General S.D. Sturgis' Union forces when they met at Brices Cross Roads on June 10, 1864. The Union lost three men to every Southern casualty and General Forrest's troops managed to capture desperately needed supplies, including guns, ammunition, artillery, and wagons. The battle was considered a major tactical victory for the Confederacy, but did not diminish the effectiveness of Sherman's campaign as supplies continued to flow. The site contains a brochure dispenser, two artillery pieces, a monument to the battle, and an interpretive wayside.
Vicksburg National Cemetery
Vicksburg National Cemetery was established by Congress in 1865 and opened a year later, to provide a burial place for "soldiers who shall die in the service of the country." It lies on ground once manned by Major-General William T. Sherman's XV Army Corps. Embracing 116 acres it is the final resting place of 17,000 Union Soldiers, a number unmatched by any other national cemetery. Many soldiers had been interred originally in scattered locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi during the campaign for control of the Mississippi River. Approximately 1,300 veterans of conflicts subsequent to the Civil War are also interred at Vicksburg. Upright headstones mark the graves of known soldiers. Small, square blocks, incised with a grave number only, designate the unknown veterans.
Tupelo National Battlefield
In the spring of 1864, Major General William Sherman prepared his army to take Atlanta and susequently "march to the sea". A primary concern of Sherman's was Major General Nathan Forrest's Confederate corp of mounted infantry roving the mid-South. Sherman ordered several advances from Federally controlled Memphis into north Mississippi for the purpose of keeping Forrest in Mississippi and not behind Sherman, cutting communication and supply lines. On July 13-15, 1864, the battle of Tupelo was the result of one of those advances by Major General Andrew J. Smith. Although the Federals retreated to Memphis after the battle, it was a Federal victory: Forrest was not able to interfere with Sherman's Georgia campaign. The Tupelo National Battlefield is part of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Natchez National Historical Park
Natchez National Historical Park celebrates the rich cultural history of Natchez, Mississippi and interprets the pivotal role the city played in the settlement of the old southwest, the Cotton Kingdom and the Antebellum South. The Park is made up of three units, Fort Rosalie is the location of an 18th Century fortification built by the French and later occupied by the British, Spanish and Americans. The William Johnson House was a house owned by William Johnson, a free African American businessman, whose diary tells the story of everyday life in antebellum Natchez. Melrose was the estate of John T. McMurran, a northerner who rose from being a middle class lawyer to a position of wealth and power in antebellum Natchez.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
More than 80 percent of Gulf Islands National Seashore is under water, but the barrier islands are the most outstanding features to those who visit. The Seashore stretches 160 miles from Cat Island in Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida. There are snowy-white beaches, sparkling blue waters, fertile coastal marshes, and dense maritime forests. Visitors can explore 19th century forts, enjoy shaded picnic areas, hike on winding nature trails, and camp in comfortable campgrounds. In addition, Horn and Petit Bois Islands located in Mississippi are federally designated wilderness areas. Nature, history, and recreational opportunities abound in this national treasure.
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park was established by Congress on February 21, 1899, to commemorate one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg. The Vicksburg campaign was waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. It included battles in west-central Mississippi at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, Big Black River and 47 days of Union siege operations against Confederate forces defending the city of Vicksburg. Located high on the bluffs, Vicksburg was a fortress guarding the Mississippi River. It was known as "The Gibraltar of the Confederacy." Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River. Today, the battlefield at Vicksburg is in an excellent state of preservation. It includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of reconstructed trenches and earthworks, a 16 mile tour road, antebellum home, 144 emplaced cannon, restored Union gunboat-USS Cairo, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River to salt licks in today’s central Tennessee. Over the centuries, the Choctaw, Chickasaw and other American Indians left their marks on the Trace. The Natchez Trace experienced its heaviest use from 1785 to 1820 by the “Kaintuck” boatmen that floated the Ohio and Miss. Rivers to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. They sold their cargo and boats and began the trek back north on foot to Nashville and points beyond. Today, visitors can experience this All-American Road through hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. The Natchez Trace Parkway occupies areas in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennesee.
Teaching Tips & Ideas
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
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Featured Resources

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