- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Vicksburg National Military Park will participate Thursday in a nationwide bell-ringing ceremony to commemorate the surrender that signaled the beginning of the end for the Civil War.

The commemoration marks the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The bell-ringing will be a 2 p.m. in Vicksburg National Cemetery, ranger Tim Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh told The Vicksburg Post (https://bit.ly/1yPpkI4 ) the date and time didn’t mean much to troops in the Western Theater in 1865.

“The problem with that is the war didn’t end when Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Gen. Grant,” Kavanaugh said.

April 9, 1865, was far from the end of the war. Battles raged for some time.

Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston wouldn’t surrender his army until April 26. In the West, surrenders came throughout May and June. The CSS Shenandoah, the wartime home to one Vicksburg sailor, was the final surrender on Nov. 6, 1865, nearly seven months after Appomattox.

The rest of April and into May will be packed with local events at the park.

April 18 starts National Park Week, and VNMP will offer free admission that weekend, Kavanaugh said.

From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 24, ranger Jake Koch will be presenting a program on the 125th anniversary of the SS Sultana departure from Vicksburg. The ill-fated boat packed with Federal troops exploded April 27, 1865, killing at least 1,800 people onboard. The following day will be the annual Junior Ranger program at the USS Cairo.

Interpretative programs about the Vicksburg Campaign are scheduled throughout May, and the park will host a “Shadows of the Past” tour May 9.

“Once we get into May we get into our anniversary dates,” Kavanagh said.

Memorial Day weekend will also be full of park events with two wreath-laying ceremonies - one in the National Cemetery and one at Soldier’s Rest - a pair of concerts and a ceremony in conjunction with the Old Court House Museum.

The concert at the museum will feature the Olde Towne Brass Band.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, https://www.vicksburgpost.com

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