Port Gibson



Located about halfway between Natchez and Vicksburg (just off the Natchez Trace), Port Gibson was called "too beautiful to burn" by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Today, it's still beautiful, with many historic homes (it has its own pilgrimage tour). You can take self-guided tours of the Civil War battlefields in the area, the city proper and the Grand Gulf Military Park. In town, visit Oak Square, an 1850 Greek Revival mansion filled with antiques; Temple Gemiluth Chassed, the oldest Jewish synagogue in Mississippi; and First Presbyterian Church, which has a steeple topped by a gilded hand pointing toward heaven. For recreation, spend an afternoon at Rocky Springs State Park (camping, picnicking, horseback riding).

About 9 mi/14 km west of Port Gibson are the evocative ruins of Windsor. All that remains of this antebellum home are 23 Corinthian columns standing in stark defiance of the 21st century—a powerful image of the South's vanquished past. (The house managed to survive the Civil War only to be destroyed by a tossed cigarette in 1890.) Port Gibson is 50 mi/80 km southwest of Jackson.

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