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On This Day: May 17

1673 - Jolliet and Marquette Expedition Gets Underway

On this date Louis Jolliet, Father Jacques Marquette, and five French voyageurs departed from the mission of St. Ignace, at the head of Lake Michigan, to reconnoitre the Mississippi River. The party traveled in two canoes throughout the summer of 1673, traveling across Wisconsin, down the Mississippi to the Arkansas River, and back again.

1863 - (Civil War) Battle of Big Black River Bridge, Mississippi

The Battle of Big Black River Bridge was part of the Vicksburg Campaign. After their defeat the previous day at Champion Hill, Confederate troops crossed Big Black River Bridge on their way back to Vicksburg. The 11th, 17th and 23rd Wisconsin Infantries and 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery were among the Union forces who attacked them there. Fewer than half of the Confederates who had fought at Champion Hill made it into the defenses at Vicksburg.