Artifacts: 19th Century Quilt

On August 28, 2012, in Artifacts, by Amanda
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Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections in the MDAH Museum Division, brings us this post about interesting artifacts in the collection.

Princess Feather pattern quilt. Accession number: 1974.27.1 (Museum Division Collection)

Princess Feather pattern quilt. Accession number: 1974.27.1 (Museum Division Collection)

This Princess Feather pattern quilt was made by Mary Hicks Stovall, ca. 1825 – 1845. Mary Hicks married Josiah Stovall in Virginia in 1768. The Stovalls moved from Virginia to North Carolina and later to Georgia around 1785 where Josiah died in 1798, leaving Mary and seventeen children. Around 1817, Mary and her children moved to the Mississippi Territory where she spent the remainder of her life. Mary Stovall died in Hinds County on December 12, 1845, at the age of ninety-four.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

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Civil War Sesquicentennial: Today in 1862

On April 6, 2012, 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 1862 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, Asst. Director of Collections, for writing this series.

Civil War battle flag. Accession Number: 1960.202.1 (Museum Division Collection)

Civil War battle flag. Accession Number: 1960.202.1 (Museum Division Collection)

The Battle of Shiloh in southern Tennessee began on April 6, 1862, and became the bloodiest battle of the Civil War up to that point with almost 24,000 casualties. This flag, which has been stored in the candy jar since before it was sent to the Department of Archives and History in the early 1900s, was reputedly carried by the 6th Mississippi Regiment during the battle. A label inside the jar with the flag states that seven color-bearers were killed or wounded while carrying this flag during the battle. The 6th Mississippi sustained horrific casualties during the first day’s fighting at Shiloh. According to General Cleburne’s report in the Official Records, the 6th suffered 300 casualties of the 425 men it carried into the battle, earning the unit the nickname of the “Bloody Sixth.”

Sword of scabbard of Col. John J. Thornton, carried at Shiloh. Accession Number: 1960.131.1ab (Museum Division Collection)

Sword of scabbard of Col. John J. Thornton, carried at Shiloh. Accession Number: 1960.131.1ab (Museum Division Collection)

Colonel John Jones Thornton commanded the 6th Mississippi at the Battle of Shiloh. A Unionist, Thornton was sent by Rankin County to the Secession Convention  in January 1861, and, though it overwhelmingly passed, he refused to sign the Ordinance of Secession. However, once Mississippi seceded, Thornton was an ardent supporter of his state. He reorganized the Rankin Guards into the Rankin Greys and when they joined the 6th Mississippi, he was elected colonel of the regiment and led them into battle at Shiloh. While carrying the sword and scabbard pictured above, Thornton was critically wounded on the first day of the battle. The scabbard has been patched where it was perforated by a bullet. Due to his injuries, Thornton was forced to resign his commission on May 25, 1862.

Now on Display

This flag is currently on display through April 29, 2012, in the exhibit A Walk Through History in the Old Capitol Museum. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 9-5 and Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

Grady Howell, Jr., “Col. John Jones Thornton, M.D.: A Sparrow Along Upon the Housetop” (1988), from the personal papers of the author.

Robert N. Scott (United States War Dept.), The War of the Rebellion, Series 1: Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, vol. 10, part 1 (Gettysburg, PA: The National Historical Society, 1972), 580-84.

National Park Service, Shiloh National Military Park website, http://www.nps.gov/shil/historyculture/shiloh.htm.

Civil War Sesquicentennial: Today in 1862

On February 16, 2012, 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 1862 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince, Asst. Director of Collections, for writing this series.

Flag of Company A., Blount Guards, 23rd Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession Number: 1968.61.1 (Museum Division Collection)

Flag of Company A, Blount Guards, 23rd Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession Number: 1968.61.1 (Museum Division Collection)

The Surrender of Ft. Donelson

This First National pattern flag belonged to Company A, “Blount Guards,” 23rd Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Captain C.G. Blount raised the Blount Guards in August 1861, in Iuka in Tippah County. Blount’s sister presented the company with this flag shortly before they left to join General Albert Sidney Johnston’s forces in Kentucky.

Known as the 3rd Mississippi in Kentucky, this regiment was stationed at Fort Donelson, a Confederate fort on the Cumberland River near Dover, Tennessee, when Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote’s and Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces began their combined attack on February 13. Three days later on February 16, Fort Donelson surrendered unconditionally to Grant and this flag was captured. With the fall of Fort Donelson and its sister fort, Fort Henry, the North gained its first major victories of the war, and “Unconditional Surrender” Grant earned a nickname and became a hero.

The members of the 3rd Mississippi who did not escape from Fort Donelson became prisoners of war and were sent north to prison camps. The prisoners were exchanged in the fall of 1862, and the regiment was reorganized. This Blount Guards flag remained in the possession of its captors until it was returned to Mississippi in 1910.

Sources:

National Park Service, “Fort Donelson National Battlefield,” http://www.nps.gov/fodo/index.htm.

Mississippi Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, “23rd Mississippi Infantry,” http://www.mississippiscv.org/MS_Units/23rd_MS_INF.htm.

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Conserving a Civil War Flag

On August 25, 2011, 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 1861 and the Civil War. Special thanks to Nan Prince for writing this series.

This photo shows the flag before conservation.  The flag had undergone previous repairs and treatment which included the use of an adhesive which had to be removed.

This photo shows the flag before conservation. The flag had undergone previous repairs and treatment including the use of an adhesive which had to be removed.

This 1st National pattern flag belonged to the 22nd Mississippi Infantry, Company E, the “Liberty Guards.”  The Liberty Guards organized in Amite County in April of 1861 and were mustered into Confederate service in July at Liberty.  Veterans of Company E preserved the flag and donated it to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1907.

By 2010, time and wear had taken its toll on this fragile silk flag.  Thanks to a very generous donation from the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the flag has been stabilized and conserved by Textile Preservation Associates in Ranson, West Virginia.  These photographs show the flag during the conservation process.

This photo shows the conservator conducting a technical examination of the canton of the flag.  The flag was badly soiled and much of the fabric was weak and powdering.

This photo shows the conservator conducting a technical examination of the canton of the flag. The flag was badly soiled and much of the fabric was weak and powdering.

The canton was more stable than the bars of the fly.  This photo shows the conservator piecing part of the red silk that had become weak, brittle, and separated.

The canton was more stable than the bars of the fly. This photo shows the conservator piecing part of the red silk that had become weak, brittle, and separated.

The final photo shows the flag after the conservation process was completed.

The final photo shows the flag after the conservation process was completed.

The flag was put in a pressure mount frame which will provide uniform support throughout the entire surface and create a stable environment that will protect it from outside contaminants.  The entire conservation treatment process took 260 hours to complete.

All photos are courtesy of Textile Preservation Associates.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment. Please contact Nan Prince, Assistant Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

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We will be exploring Mississippi’s rich aviation history in this series. From early flight photographs to the moon landing and beyond, MDAH collections document this exciting part of our past. Special thanks to Nan Prince for writing this post.

Captain Parker's flag. Accession Number: 1962.355 (Museum Division Collection)

Captain Parker's flag. Accession Number: 1962.355 (Museum Division Collection)

This Mississippi state flag was carried by Mississippi native Captain Alton Parker while serving as a pilot on the Richard Byrd Antarctic Expedition of 1928-1929.  Parker served with distinction on Byrd’s earlier expedition to the North Pole and was chosen to accompany him to Antarctica.  On December 5, 1929, Parker piloted the flight that discovered the Ford Mountain Range. The expedition was the first to fly over the South Pole.

A native of Crystal Springs, Parker was honored by Mississippi on September 6, 1930, at a ceremony at the State Capitol after he returned home from the expedition.  The pilot gave this flag to his native state. The Jackson Daily News described the gift, saying, “The small flag was long in the frigid country, it whirred with its daring owner in airplanes over long stretches of the Antarctic wastes and eventually, with its owner, back in Mississippi.“1 Parker became a commercial pilot and logged more than two million miles in the air before his death in 1942.

Artifacts from the Museum Division collection that are not on exhibit are available for viewing by appointment only. Please contact Nan Prince, Asst. Director of Collections, by email to schedule an appointment.

1 “State’s Flag with Parker at South Pole,” Jackson Daily News, September 5, 1930, page 23. MDAH microfilm #21015.