Chartered as a town on March 12, 1803, Port Gibson is Mississippi’s third-oldest European-American settlement. It was developed beginning in 1729 by French colonists, and was then within French-claimed territory, La Louisiane.
Port Gibson was the site of several clashes during the American Civil War and figured in Ulysses S. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign. The Battle of Port Gibson occurred on May 1, 1863, and resulted in the deaths of over 200 Union and Confederate soldiers. The battle was a turning point in the Confederates’ ability to hold Mississippi and defend against an amphibious attack.
Port Gibson is the site of the Port Gibson Oil Works, a cottonseed oil plant. Many of the town’s historic buildings survived the Civil War because Grant proclaimed the city to be “too beautiful to burn.” These words appear on the town’s city limits signs. Historic buildings in the city include the Windsor Ruins, which have been shown in several motion pictures.