The history of the Cairo is told on the park's official website: http://www.nps.gov/vick/u-s-s-cairo-gunboat.htm. Entombed in mud after being sunk by Confederate forces, the Cairo lay until it was raised in 1965. The gunboat is a testament to the intelligence and skill of its designers and builders. Its easy to look at our technology of today and think ourselves superior, but to gaze upon the beauty and workmanship of such a 19th century vessel is humbling. Most of the wood is new, built according to the original, with some original damaged pieces throughout. I could have spent much more time just soaking in the beauty of the boat's skeletal lines. Such beauty at the service of such an ugly business. We humans are complicated.
This was Thomas's favorite part of Vicksburg. He asked lots of questions and still talks about the boat as we look at pictures.
|The bottom of the smoke stacks|
|Where the fires were fed|
|Iron planks have been added to give visitors an idea of the metal that would have covered the ship.|
|The paddlewheel structure is a thing of beauty in itself.|
|The lines of the hull are breathtaking.|
|View of original wood.|
It was from one of these views that Clare mentioned our home parish sanctuary whose interior roof resembles the hull of a ship.
|The regal smokestacks|
|View from observation deck near museum|
The view from the Cairo's permanent dock reminds visitors of the purpose of the park. The Vicksburg National Cemetery, with its rows and rows in commemoration of the dead, was our final view of the park. Lovely, genteel magnolia trees stand guard over the fallen and the glory of God's creation looms large.
Our national parks are such a treasure and I'm so thankful our family was able to travel to Vicksburg.