GHOSTS OF VICKSBURG
The city of Vicksburg is perhaps the most historical city in the state, and the one that is perhaps more steeped in history, legend and lore than any other. The siege of the city during the Civil War is perhaps one of the most memorable events of the conflict. During the Spring and early Summer of 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant had tightened a military noose around the city. More than 200 Union guns pounded the town on a daily basis. The civilians in the city starved and dug some 500 caves into the hillsides, hoping to escape the Federal artillery. Fewer than a dozen of them were actually killed, but stories spread throughout the south about the terrible hardships of the people of Vicksburg.
Food ran low inside the city and people were reduced to eating mules, horses, dogs and a horrible bread made of dried corn and peas.... and even rats were sold in the butcher shops. By late June, nearly half the Confederate Army was sick. Houses were in ruins, fences had been torn down and turned into firewood, lice and filth covered the bodies of the soldiers... but still the city held out against the Union forces.
On July 4, 1863 the Confederates of Vicksburg finally surrendered and the Stars and Stripes were raised above the Vicksburg courthouse.
July 4 would not be celebrated as a holiday in Vicksburg for 81 years.
Anchuca This Vicksburg mansion was built in 1837 by Richard Archer, an eccentric and strange man who kept a stern eye on his five daughters. It was said that one of the daughters resembled her father so closely that she was known affectionately as "Archie". She may have been her father's favorite, but when she fell in love with a plantation overseer, her father forbade the marriage and sent the young man away. His enraged daughter barely spoke to him afterward and began taking all of her meals in the parlor, away from the rest of the family. She even refused to sit down during dinner, because her father was, and she stood each evening at the fireplace mantel to eat. The ghost of the young, headstrong girl is still seen at that same spot today.
The haunting was first reported in 1966 when the Jack Lavender family moved into the house. Everyone in the family, and their butler, have seen the ghost of the young woman in the parlor. She is reportedly wearing a long brown dress and standing in front of the fireplace.
Cedar Grove A whole family of ghosts is said to haunt this mansion, built back in the 1840's. The ghost of John Klein smokes his favorite pipe in the parlor while his wife Elizabeth has been seen and heard walking up and down the front stairs. They are accompanied by the sounds of their ten children, who have been heard roaming the hallways and rooms. Two of the children died in the house as infants and an older child died in the nursery.They also had a son who died of an accidental gunshot wound.
And the Klein family of spirits are not alone here.... a young woman who was a later resident in the house committed suicide in the ballroom. Her ghost has been said to appear in that room on the anniversary of her death.
The McRaven House This is perhaps the most famous haunted place in Vicksburg. The house was used as the Union headquarters during the occupation of the city. The house was used by Colonel Wilson, who Grant placed in charge of the Federal troops and a Captain McPherson, a former resident of the city. McPherson served as the liaison between the occupying troops and the residents of the town. One night, McPherson failed to return from his usual rounds and was declared missing. A search was started, but the young man was not found.
A night later, McPherson returned.... although not in the flesh. His mutilated-looking apparition appeared in the McRaven House. The ghost was dripping with spectral water and bloody. He materialized to Colonel Wilson and told his commander that he had been murdered by Confederate sympathizers and thrown into the river.
Since that time, the ghost has continued to appear, bearing the same message, to other occupants of the house.
And the ghost of Captain McPherson is not alone. There have also been sightings of a woman with long brown hair and a plain dress in the middle bedroom of the house. She has been seen by a number of reputable witnesses.
There have also been sightings of Civil War soldiers walking about the house.
In 1991, the house, which is currently a private residence, was blessed by an Episcopal priest, but the spirits continue to return.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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