Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shirley's House - The Surviving Wartime Building
Vicksburg National Military Park

This is the Shirley's House, also known as the White House, during the siege of Vicksburg, 1863. The house was built during the 1830s for northern born James and Adeline Shirley. The couple's three children were born in Vicksburg, and the family had twenty five slaves.

On May 18, 1863, as the Confederate rear guard fell back into the Vicksburg defenses, soldiers were ordered to burn all the houses in front of their works. The Shirley barns and outbuildings were quickly burned to the ground, but the soldier assigned to destroy the house was shot before he could apply the torch.

Mrs Shirley, her 15-year-old son Quincy, and several servants, were caught in the cross-fire as Union soldiers approached Vicksburg. Fearing for their lives, they remained in the house huddled in a chimney corner for three days before Mrs Shirley tied a sheet to a broom handle and had it placed on the upper front porch. The frightened occupants of the "white house" were finally removed by Union soldiers and given shelter in a cave.

When the siege ended, the Shirley house was badly damaged and abandoned. The house and sixty acres were sold to the United States government in 1900 by the couple's daughter Alice who insisted her parents be buried behind the house.

Photograph Courtesy of Wikipedia
Information from signage and National Park Service


  1. It's really interesting to see what the house looks like both today and during the siege.

    1. I wish I had gotten a photo of the side of the house depicted in the siege shot.