Artifacts

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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Inspired by the State Fair

On September 27, 2013, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, brings us this post about artifacts in the Museum Division collection.

"State Fair," Mildred Wolfe, 1981. Accession number: 1983.32.1 (Museum Division Collection)

State Fair by Mildred Wolfe, 1981. Accession number: 1983.32.1 (Museum Division Collection)

The Mississippi State Fair is just around the corner. Here is an item from the Museum Division collection to help get you in the State Fair mood. Jackson artist Mildred Wolfe (1912–2009) painted this scene of the state fair in 1981.

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Artifacts: First African American Masons in State

On September 4, 2013, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, assistant director of collections, brings us this post in her ongoing series about neat artifacts in the Museum Division collection.

Masonic banner, Stringer Lodge, Vicksburg. Accession number: 1987.11.1 (Museum Division collection)

Masonic banner, Stringer Lodge, Vicksburg. Accession number: 1987.11.1 (Museum Division collection)

This Masonic banner and apron are from the Stringer Lodge in Vicksburg. Organized in 1867 by Thomas W. Stringer, the lodge was the first African American Masonic lodge in Mississippi. Thomas Stringer was born in Maryland in 1815 and moved to Mississippi in 1865 to serve as a minister in the African Methodist Church. Seeing Masonry as a way to engage the newly freed men in select groups that would provide them with a greater sense of self-worth and fellowship, Stringer formed the first lodge in Vicksburg and soon other towns in Mississippi formed lodges, as well.

Masonic apron, Stringer Lodge, Vicksburg. Accession number: 1987.13.16 (Museum Division collection)

Masonic apron, Stringer Lodge, Vicksburg. Accession number: 1987.13.16 (Museum Division collection)

Source: Alferdteen Harrison, A History of the Most Worshipful Stringer Grand Lodge: Our Heritage Is Our Challenge (1977).

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