The General Lloyd Tilghman Equestrian Statue at Vicksburg
There are a lot of equestrian statues of Civil War generals at National Military Parks and battlefields, as well as other locations. Most of these have the general riding the horse and if the equestrian statue is at a battlefield, it’s because the general fought at the battle that took place there. The equestrian statue of Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman at Vicksburg National Military Park is unique in that the general is standing with outstretched arms next to the horse, plus Tilghman did not fight at Vicksburg during the Union assaults and subsequent siege against that city though he did fight in a significant battle during the Vicksburg Campaign itself.
Tilghman, an engineer by trade, was a Maryland native and West Point graduate who had lived for several years in Paducah, Kentucky when the Civil War began. He joined the Confederate Army in 1861, and was in command at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River when a combined Federal army and navy expedition captured the fort in February 1862. Tilghman and a small number of Confederate artillerymen fought a delaying action against the attacking Union fleet that enabled most of the garrison to escape to nearby Fort Donelson. Tilghman was then a prisoner of war until he was exchanged in August.
In May of 1863, Tilghman was in command of a brigade of Mississippians in Major General William Loring’s Division of Lieutenant General John Pemberton’s Army of Vicksburg. On May 16th, Tilghman was personally sighting a cannon at the Battle of Champion Hill, about 20 miles east of Vicksburg, when he was killed after being hit in the midsection by a fragment from a Union artillery shell. He was 47 years old.
This interesting sculpture is located at the Great Redoubt tour stop on Confederate Avenue on the Vicksburg National Military Park tour road, near the Louisiana Memorial. According to the National Park Service, the statue was donated by two of Tilghman’s sons and placed at Vicksburg in 1926.