Artifacts

Battle of the Wilderness: 150 Years Ago

On May 5, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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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

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Artifacts: Lowry Raid on Free State of Jones

On April 10, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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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.

This hand-made corn knife belonged to the Knight family. Accession number: 1981.60.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

This hand-made corn knife belonged to the Knight family. Accession number: 1981.60.1 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Consisting mainly of yeoman farmers and cattle herders, Jones County had the lowest percentage of slave population of any county in Mississippi when the state seceded in 1861. After the passage of the Twenty-Slave Exemption law in 1862 by the Confederate Congress, which exempted anyone owning twenty or more slaves from the draft, many soldiers from Jones County left the army and returned home. Shocked by the harsh conditions on the home front, citizens led by Newton Knight turned Jones County into a haven for Confederate deserters in the spring of 1864.

This Confederate officer’s frock coat belonged to Robert Lowry. Accession number: 1960.157.1a (MDAH Museum Division collection)

This Confederate officer’s frock coat belonged to Robert Lowry. Accession number: 1960.157.1a (MDAH Museum Division collection)

Confederate officials sent Colonel Robert Lowry to squash the Jones County rebellion in April. Using blood hounds to drive Knight’s men out of the swamps, Lowry caught and hanged many of the rebels and ended the insurrection; although Knight himself escaped. After the war, the United States Army made Knight a commissioner in charge of distributing food to the poor and starving of Jones County. He made the unpopular choice of supporting the Republican Party during Reconstruction and in 1872, was made deputy United States marshal for the Southern District. Robert Lowry rose through the ranks during the war to become a brigadier general. After the war, he was elected to two terms as governor of Mississippi.

Source:

http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/309/newton-knight-and-the-legend-of-the-free-state-of-jones

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Battle of Okolona: 150 Years Ago

On February 21, 2014, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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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.

Model 1860 Colt revolver owned by Captain William Bean Peery. Accession number: 1963.29.1 (Museum Division collection)

Model 1860 Colt revolver owned by Captain William Bean Peery. Accession number: 1963.29.1 (Museum Division collection)

Marching from Vicksburg, Union General William T. Sherman began a campaign to destroy the strategic railroad center of Meridian, Mississippi, in February 1864 and ordered Brigadier General William Sooy Smith to come down from Memphis to meet him in Meridian. Against Sherman’s orders, Smith delayed his departure for several days. Once in Mississippi, Smith’s seven thousand cavalry troops encountered minor resistance until they met with Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s troops in West Point on February 21. Smith retreated to Okolona, and Forrest pursued. On February 22, Forrest’s troops attacked Smith on the prairie outside Okolona. After a day of fighting, Smith retreated back toward Tennessee, thus jeopardizing Sherman’s Meridian Campaign. The Battle of Okolona resulted in one hundred U.S. casualties and fifty Confederate, including the loss of Colonel Jeffrey Forrest, the brother of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

This Model 1860 Colt revolver belonged to Captain William Bean Peery of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry. It was originally issued to Marias Kelly of Company C, Seventh Indiana Cavalry, who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Okolona, February 22, 1864.

Sources:

http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/ms013.htm

http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/2/shermans-meridian-campaign-a-practice-run-for-the-march-to-the-sea

http://www.okolona.org/aboutbattle.html

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The Battle of Chattanooga

On November 22, 2013, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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The Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial continues and in the coming months we will be highlighting Museum Division collections related to 1863 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, for writing this series.

November 23–25, 1863: The Battle of Chattanooga

Flag of the 10th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession number: 1968.46.1 (Museum Division collection)

Flag of the 10th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession number: 1968.46.1 (Museum Division collection)

In the fall of 1863, Union and Confederate armies engaged in several clashes in northern Georgia and southern Tennessee that were fought to determine control of the strategic rail center of Chattanooga, Tennessee. After the defeat of the Union army at the Battle of Chickamauga, General Ulysses S. Grant deployed troops that had been stationed in Mississippi to the area. On November 23 and 24, Union troops pushed Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee troops out of their defensive positions at Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. The battle ended on November 25 after troops under General George H. Thomas scaled the heights of Missionary Ridge in one of the greatest charges of the war, breaking the Confederate line. The battle for Chattanooga was over, and Union forces controlled the town that General Sherman would use as his supply base for his march to Atlanta and the sea the next spring.

Flag of the 41st Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession number: 1962.182.1 (Museum Division collection)

Flag of the 41st Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession number: 1962.182.1 (Museum Division collection)

A number of Mississippi regiments fought in the Chattanooga Campaign, including the 10th and 41st Mississippi Infantries whose flags are pictured here.

This sword belonged to Colonel James A. Campbell of the 27th Mississippi Infantry. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lookout Mountain, sent to Johnson’s Island Prisoner of War camp in Ohio, and died there on February 4, 1864.

James A. Campbell's sword. Accession number: 1984.59.1ab (Museum Division collection)

James A. Campbell’s sword. Accession number: 1984.59.1ab (Museum Division collection)

Source: “History and Culture,” Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/chch/historyculture/index.htm.

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1904 State Fair Artifact

On October 2, 2013, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, brings us this post about interesting artifacts in the Museum Division collection.

Glass vase from 1904 state fair. Accession number: 1977.15.2 (Museum Division collection)

Glass vase from 1904 state fair. Accession number: 1977.15.2 (Museum Division collection)

Hugh Geiger purchased this small glass pitcher when he was ten years old and visited the state fair in 1904. At that time, the state fair was held inside the recently abandoned Old Capitol building. You can view this pitcher and several other state fair–related items in the History Happened Here exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum.

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