USS Mississippi made history this week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 21, 2009

Come learn today about an event hailed 100 years ago as “The most memorable event in the history of the Mississippi River.”

In May of 1909, Natchez welcomed the great battleship USS Mississippi to her port. The ship’s excursion to Natchez was met with plenty of excitement by townspeople. Natchez hosted parades, balls, receptions and more.

Natchez National Historical Park will present a brief lecture on the USS Mississippi’s visit to Natchez free of charge at 12:15 p.m. today at in the historic Carriage House on the grounds of Melrose. The program is in conjunction with the Mississippi River Parks and Trials Collaborative Calendar.

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The ship visited Natchez exactly 100 years ago this week — Thursday, May 20 through Tuesday, May 25, 1909 — and research in period Natchez newspapers has revealed fascinating information about the ship’s visit to Natchez.

The day, May 20, 1909, was a most anticipated day for the people of Natchez. Today’s lecture will describe the range of activities in preparation for the visit that were reported in The Daily Democrat.

The lecture will also include information on the four ships named USS Mississippi. The first was a sidewheel steamer commissioned in 1841 and destroyed near Port Hudson, Louisiana during the Civil War. The second, a battleship commissioned in 1908 (the one that came to Natchez) cost over four million dollars to build.

The third USS Mississippi, a battleship commissioned in December 1917, served our nation during World War II. The fourth ship was commissioned in 1978 and was a Virginia Class Nuclear Powered Cruiser. A fifth USS Mississippi is planned.

The brief program will last about 30 minutes. For more information about the lecture, please call 601-446-5790 or visit our Web site at

Cheryl Munyer is the curator at Natchez National Historical Park.