The memorial was dedicated on October 26, 1906. There are forty-seven steps in the long stairway, one for each day of the Siege of Vicksburg. Modeled after the Roman Pantheon, the monument has sixty unique bronze tablets lining its interior walls, naming all 36,325 Illinois soldiers who participated in the Vicksburg Campaign. The monument stands sixty-two feet in height, and originally cost $194,423.92, paid by the state of Illinois.
The first time I visited the Vicksburg National Military Park I was in elementary school. I think I was fourth grade on a school field trip. I remember from that visit the long rows of white crosses in the cemetery and the Illinois Memorial.