Collections Blog

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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"Camellia Place, Built in 1841 by ?, Columbus." Call number: PI/HH/M57.7 (MDAH)

“Camellia Place, Built in 1841 by ?, Columbus.” Call number: PI/HH/M57.7 (MDAH)

The Mississippi Historic Houses Collection (PI/HH/M57.7) contains 488 photographic slides of historic houses in various cities and towns in Mississippi. There are exterior and interior views.

Click here to view the images.

More information is available in the catalog records. To view them, search for “PI HH M57 7″ in the online catalog.

 
First Baptist Church, Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. Call number: PI/SF/CH/1986.0033 (MDAH)

First Baptist Church, Charleston, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. Call number: PI/SF/CH/1986.0033 (MDAH)

The Churches – Survey Collection (PI/SF/CH/1986.0033) includes thirty-nine photographs of churches in Mississippi. Towns include Jackson, Natchez, Raymond, Canton, Brandon, Grenada, Water Valley, Charleston, Winona, Greenwood, Belzoni, Ruleville, Drew, and Church Hill. Also shown are rural churches in DeSoto and Claiborne Counties.

Click the link above to browse the images. More information is contained in the individual catalog records; to access, search “PI SF CH 1986 0033″ in the MDAH online catalog.

 

Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series chronicling the construction of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for her research.

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971.  Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Currently the home of MDAH’s Historic Preservation Division, the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building was the department’s first purpose-built home. MDAH was long overdue for a building of its own after nearly forty years in the State Capitol basement (1903-1940) and a further twenty-three years in the north wing of the War Memorial Building. The department’s quarters at the War Memorial were cramped (its search room was a scant twenty-four square feet), which slowed collecting efforts. Perhaps more seriously, there was no way to control the temperature or humidity in records storage areas, resulting in inevitable damage to the records. Thus, in 1963, with the restoration of the Old Capitol and installation of the State Historical Museum within it complete, MDAH Director Charlotte Capers and Dr. R.A. McLemore (then president of the Department’s Board of Trustees) began campaigning for the funds to build a new home for the archives.

Sources:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History in-house workshop on giving building tours, June 10, 1971 audio transcript (http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/vault/projects/OHtranscripts/AU710_104014.pdf)

Series 1258: Charlotte Capers Building Files, 1928-1992. Box 4899.

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1966-1970

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1971 (dedication year)

A Building Survey for a New Archives Building, for the Board of Trustees, Department of Archives and History, prepared by William D. Morrison, Jr., 1966

Tauches, Karen. “The Fate of History: The Old Archives Building is Under Review.” Burnaway, published July 22, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://burnaway.org/the-fate-of-history-the-old-archives-building-is-under-review/

CR&HM. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/wfm-archives-and-history/

WFM Archives and History. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/crhm/

Money conversions performed at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

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Looking Southwest Wharf Line Future Barge Unloading Position and Steel Storage Area At Center, 8/28/68. Call number: PI/SF/IND/1986.0017 (MDAH)

Looking Southwest Wharf Line Future Barge Unloading Position and Steel Storage Area At Center, 8/28/68. Call number: PI/SF/IND/1986.0017 (MDAH)

The Ingalls Shipyard West Bank Expansion photograph collection (PI/SF/IND/1986.0017) shows construction at the shipyard from 1968 to 1970.

Click here to view the images.

More information is available in the catalog records. To view, search “PI SF IND 1986 0017″ in the online catalog.

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