The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1864 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, for writing this series.

The Battle of the Wilderness was the first battle in the Overland Campaign, initiated by the newly appointed leader of the federal armies, General Ulysses S. Grant. The Overland, or Wilderness, Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in northern Virginia throughout May and June 1864. Fierce fighting in the dense woods during the Battle of the Wilderness led to almost thirty thousand casualties in the two days of fighting. Although the battle was technically a draw, U.S. forces lost significantly more soldiers than the Confederates. Determined to reengage Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, Grant—instead of retreating as had his predecessors—turned his army toward Spotsylvania Courthouse, where they continued to fight the next day.

Henry A. Magruder's shirt. Accession number: 1962.251.2 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Henry A. Magruder’s shirt. Accession number: 1962.251.2 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

This shirt was worn by Henry A. Magruder when he was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness. Born in 1841, in Sharon (Madison County), Mississippi, Magruder served with the Madison Light Artillery, which was also known as Ward’s Battery.  Magruder survived his injury and returned home to Mississippi after the war.

Captain Silvanus Jackson Quinn's dictionary. Accession number: 1960.332.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Captain Silvanus Jackson Quinn’s dictionary. Accession number: 1960.332.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Captain Silvanus Jackson Quinn, Company A, Thirteenth Mississippi Regiment, kept this dictionary and a package of letters from home in his breast pocket. They reputedly saved his life when he was shot during the Battle of the Wilderness.

Sources:

http://www.nps.gov/frsp/wildspot.htm

http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/va046.htm