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Of Men & Rivers: The Story of the Vicksburg District

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In all frankness, I must inform the reader that I have tried to be objective throughout the preparation of this study but it has not been easy to overcome an inherent bias. I was reared within the Vicksburg District on a rice plantation in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. I learned early to respect and fear the power of the river that dominated our country. The mammoth levee which stood less than 10 miles away was the only protection our family and neighbors had against the annual fury of the Mississippi. The land we cleared and put into production had been a swampland in the not-too-distant past-and would still be one were it not for the flood protection and drainage works of countless individuals, local government, but mainly the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Delta I knew as a child has changed drastically over the past two decades, and the work of the Corps of Engineers has definitely influenced this change. Vast stretches of fertile but previously unusable land have been put into production and the quality of life has improved. But many favorite hunting grounds are gone, and I mourn the loss. It is impossible to make a value judgement between the old Delta and the new, but it must be recognized that the vast belts of timber marshes in the old Valley served only those who were strong enough to invade them while the cleared, drained, and fertile fields that have replaced them are being touted as tomorrows Bread Basket of the World. The 13 months that I have spent in the preparation of this History of the Vicksburg District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have been challenging ones. As a Delta native and a Southern historian, I thought I was already familiar with the basic work of the Corps in the Mississippi Valley, but I had much to learn. Over the decades, the scope of their work has undergone a number of significant alterations, and I speak not only of geographical changes but also of revisions in the duties and responsibilities assigned the Corps.

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  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Civil Engineering

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