On a recent photo shoot in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area, my wife and I decided to stop by and photograph two very old cemeteries. The first is the Cedar Hill Cemetery a.k.a. City Cemetery in Vicksburg. The other is the Grand Gulf Cemetery located in the Grand Gulf Military Park. After returning home, I thought it would be fun to process the photos using various techniques. Some of the photos have been given a vintage look. Others have a slight to heavy painting effect. And even though the photos were taken in the harshness of noon-day sun, I tried to make a few of them appear as if they were taken at dusk. Leave a comment and let me know which effect you prefer.

Cedar Hill Cemetery

Cedar Hill is one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in the United States still in use. A section known as “Soldier’s Rest,” is the final resting place for an estimated 5,000 Confederate Soldiers who died of sickness or wounds. My great grand uncle, James Burrell, was Sargent in Company C of the 40th Mississippi Infantry. There is a marker near the Mississippi Monument in the Vicksburg National Military Park which indicates where the 40th regiment were entrenched.

There is a large cemetery within the National Park which contains the bodies of 17,000 Union soldiers. Congress established the National Cemetery System in 1862 to serve as a burial place for “soldiers who die in the service of the country.” Since Confederate soldiers did not meet this criteria, they had to be interred elsewhere. Cedar Hill was selected as the burial place for the Southern soldiers and continues to be maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

When I was young, the Confederate Cemetery could be accessed via the park tour road. Somewhere along the line, the entrance was cut off. Today, most park visitors probably do not have a clue where the Confederate Cemetery is, and how it can be accessed.

Grand Gulf Cemetery

Grand Gulf Cemetery in state of disrepair

Grand Gulf Cemetery in state of disrepair

Grand Gulf was an old town situated on the Mississippi River between Natchez and Vicksburg. It was once the third largest city in the State, until the Big Muddy ate away at it. The main burial ground for the early inhabitants of Grand Gulf is now maintained by the Grand Gulf Military Park. Like the old town, the cemetery faces danger from nature’s ravages. The cemetery sits on a high steep ridge of highly erodible soil. Over the years, several areas of mass erosion has displaced coffins and submerged tombstones. You can see evidence of preservation attempts, but it appears to be a losing battle. The total number of graves lost to erosion is unknown, but believed to be a considerable number. The cemetery is approximately four acres with 200 graves, 160 tombstones, and 11 family plots.

The Cemetery contains a row of Confederate rifle pits used by the 6th Missouri. The pits encompass the rear of the cemetery, and run along the ridges to the gun emplacements. This is the only cemetery in the United States known to have Confederate Rifle pits. The earliest recorded burial was in 1822 and the most recent was 1954.

Click on the thumbnails below to bring up the larger images…enjoy!