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Restoration of Cast-Iron Tablets at Grand Gulf 

More than 50 years ago, noted Civil War historian Ed Bearss discovered the remains of two fortifications and supporting rifle pits at Grand Gulf in Mississippi. This site of such importance to the 1862–1863 Vicksburg Campaign was a critical supply depot for Grant’s final drive on Vicksburg. Thirty-one cast-iron markers were installed to document this history.

Since then, the site has been incorporated into the state park system and primarily used for camping. The signs, now approaching 60 years of age, have seen the ravages of the years—surface corrosion, chipped paint, and other forms of damage. The BGES has engaged a vendor to restore the markers to installation period luminance. This will be done by blasting and chipping off the old paint and corrosion and repainting the signs with industrial quality paint that should hold its application for 30 or more years. The text will be restored with accent paint. Any damaged signs will be evaluated for the corrective action that will be needed and subsequently restored or replaced. The project, slated for summer 2018, should take less than 30 days.

As an educational add-on, the BGES will publish its twentieth monograph. “The Grand Gulf–Raymond Scenic Byway,” by Parker Hills, contains a robust, bountiful narrative that will improve the understanding and appreciation of the long-standing supply route (line of communication) established at Grand Gulf to support Grant’s final drive on Vicksburg.

The project budget is $9,000. We will raise this money through an online appeal, Facebook, and direct mail to our membership. Individuals may sponsor signs for $275 per sign. Sign sponsors will receive a presento of their restored sign noting their sponsorship. Please note it is not possible to put sign sponsorships on the cast-iron signs themselves. Additional donations at any level will be applied to shortfalls in sponsorship and to any administrative or publication costs. Sponsorship of the monograph will be $3,000; however, we expect to raise sufficient funds through individual donations to cover the cost of the monograph.

Fundraising is expected to start by June 1, with a target completion date of July 1, 2018. We expect the project to be completed and turned over to Grand Gulf by October 2018. The monograph is scheduled to be completed and published by the end of 2018.  Contact us if you would like to be notified when donations are being accepted.