Brice’s Crossroads National Battlefield
In the rural countryside along Mississippi 370 near Baldwyn lies the Brices Crossroads National Battlefield, where Confederate cavalry under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated Union troops and forced their withdrawal to Memphis.
The Union initiated the battle with one objective – to make it impossible for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to interfere with General William I. Sherman’s railroad supply line from Nashville to Chattanooga during the Atlanta campaign. Union troops marched out of Memphis to hold Forrest in Northeast Mississippi. Outnumbered more than two to one, Forrest’s men routed the Union troops. The battle was considered a major tactical victory for the Confederacy, but did not diminish the effectiveness of Sherman’s campaign as supplies continued to flow.
Fought on June 10, 1864, the battle is explained on markers with text and maps. The site is open daily and administered by the National Park Service. For more information, contact park interpreters at the Natchez Trace Visitors Center at 662-680-4025 or 1-800-305-7417. Adjacent to the battlefield is a cemetery where 99 Confederate soldiers are buried. All but one are unidentified.
Tupelo National Battlefield
Commemorated in a park on Tupelo’s West Main Street is the Battle of Tupelo – the last major engagement of the Civil War in Mississippi.
The battle, which raged over two hot July days in 1864, was among the bloodiest in the state. Coming after the Confederate victory at the Battle of Brices Crossroads, the Tupelo engagement pitted troops under Confederate Generals Stephen D. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest against Union troops under the command of Generals A.J. Smith and Joseph A. Mower. At stake were rail lines supplying General William T. Sherman’s campaign against Atlanta.
So important was Tupelo to Sherman that he ordered his commander in Memphis “to make up a force and go out to follow Forrest to the death, if it cost 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury.”
Although the blue clad troops claimed a partial victory, the Union army soon retreated to Memphis, leaving the field to an army half its size.
The Tupelo National Battlefield is open daily and maintained by the National Park Service. The site includes a cannon, a marker with text, and maps outlining the engagement.
For more information call 662-680-4025 or 1-800-305-7417.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The historic, 450-mile highway linking Natchez with Nashville began as a trail traveled by Indians and wild animals about 8,000 years ago. Later, it was used by Spanish explorers, British troops and settlers of the southern frontier.
Today, the Natchez Trace is a scenic byway and one of the nation’s most unique national parks. Open year-round for motorists, hikers and cyclists, it provides visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time.
Maintained and administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Natchez Trace Parkway is headquartered in Tupelo. The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center, open year-round except Christmas Day, offers information for travelers, numerous displays and exhibits, and an orientation program.
Four miles south of the Visitors Center is the Chickasaw Village, site of an 18th century Chickasaw settlement. Exhibits at the site describe the Chickasaws’ daily life and early history. A nature trail features plants used by the Indians.
Points of interest along the parkway, which stretches from Nashville to Natchez, include Twentymile Bottom Overlook, Dogwood Valley, and Oldtown Overlook.
Trace State Park, located west of the Trace between Pontotoc and Tupelo, offers camping, lodging and a trailer sanitation station. Three miles north of the Visitors Center is a remaining segment of the original trace leading to the graves of 13 unknown Confederate Soldiers.
For more information call 662-680-4025, 800-305-7417 or visit the NTP Website.
Pvt. John Allen National Fish Hatchery
The Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery is a scenic outdoor facility where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service propagates native fish for use in restocking programs. Each year, millions of fish are hatched here. Hours open are Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
A 1903 Victorian house which was the home to hatchery superintendents for many years is located at the site. The grounds of the hatchery are beautifully manicured with turn-of-the-century plantings. Reminisce as you walk through Grandmother’s Garden and the watchable wildlife area. The wildlife area has been planted with plants and shrubs to attract nature’s friends. The house is now supervised and maintained by the Tupelo Garden Club. It is available for teas, weddings, luncheons, picnics and other events. Rental fees and tours are available upon request. For more information call 662-842-1341.
Tombigbee State Park
Located just six miles south of Tupelo, Tombigbee State Park offers the finest in outdoor recreation opportunities.
Under the management of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, this facility includes a lodge meeting room, seven air-conditioned cabins, 2 air-conditioned dormitories, 20 RV sites, primitive camping area, picnic facilities and nature trail. Cabin and lodge meeting room rental rates available upon request. Call 662-842-7669 for more information.
Elvis Presley Lake & Campground
The Elvis Presley Lake and Campground is a scenic park named in honor of the city’s most famous son. Located five miles north of the Elvis Presley Birthplace, the 850-acre facility is popular with campers, boaters, water skiers and fishermen. An all terrain bicycle trail, nature and hiking trails and volleyball courts are also available. Boat launching fees and camping fees are charged.
The facility is managed by the Three Rivers Planning & Development District and Lee County. Entrance fees are $2/adults (15 & over); $1/children (6-11); under 6 free. Senior citizen rates available. Boat launching fee is $5 and camping fees are $5/night for primitive and $11/night for full service (senior citizens $7). Open March – September.
Information may be obtained through the lake manager at 1-662-841-1304.