Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mud Island

Mud Island in Memphis is a neat place to go for two reasons. First it has a museum about the Mississippi river valley which includes a pretty good section on the Civil War. The Civil War exhibits are pretty neat too in that there are quite a number of scale models of ships and that the gallery takes you onto the gundeck of an ironclad, and then takes you up to the artillery position firing on the ironclad. Its dark in there so this is the best picture of the gundeck I have and none of the artillery position.

Then you go outside to find a scale model of the Mississippi River. You can walk the entire length of the river. This is a kid friendly area and even adults take off their shoes to cool off a bit.

Here's Cairo:

Its not just a model of the river it also tells you a lot about the river. Some markers are historical in nature. Here is the sign for battle at Belmont. You then find the corresponding marker to see exactly where B and C are.

In this case they are very close to each other. C is on the left.

At the end of the journey is a Gulf of Mexico, and a little farther on is a display of flags for all the nations that have controlled the Memphis area. They were at half mast because I was there during the mourning period for President Reagan.

According to this marker the naval battle for Memphis, the Battle of Plum Run Bend, was off in the distance. It was a Union victory and sealed the fate of the city. If the Confederates had won they would have held onto the city a little longer but ultimately they probably would have had to abandon it.

1 comment:

markerhunter said...

For the life of me, I've never honestly pinned down the section of the river that the naval battle of Memphis took place. Most reference a point at or north of the I-40 (the "new) bridge. Problem with that is the river has altered courses several times in the 147 years. If you look at the map, on the west bank of the river, there's a locality called "Mound City" in Arkansas. Just over the levee from there (east) is Dacus Road, which due to the river channel changes, is very close to the state line. Most wartime maps indicate the main channel passed there during the war, instead of the present day course closer to downtown Memphis. It is also in that area that the Sultana is said to have run aground after the boiler exploded. Farmers in that area have told me about finding cannon balls stacked along the sides of the oxbow lakes in that area also. Likely indicating the Federals unloaded these (ballast) before heading up river.