By Robert Hancock
Senior Curator and Director of Collections
Today we might call President Jefferson Davis a micro-manager. He took interest in a variety of aspects in the running of the war which probably could have been left to subordinates. On the mantel of his home office we find two prototype artillery projectiles. These wooden models (the actual projectiles were made of iron) were the type that served as patterns in the government’s Patent Office.
The Battle of First Manassas, fought on July 21, 1861, was the first major battle of the Civil War. Many of the experiences of soldiers on that day are lost to history. However, when Major Robert Harris donated these field glasses to the museum in 1893, he wrote of his experience:
Whether you subscribe to superstition or not, Friday the 13th has entered our popular culture as a harbinger of bad luck (and bad movies). Eight Fridays fell on the 13th during the American Civil War. Some saw major battles, others mere skirmishes. But were these days host to specific instances of bad luck? Anyone who was wounded in the fighting or who lost a loved one might have thought so. See for yourself as we recap each day. (follow the links to learn more about that day's events or see related artifacts from our collection)
Most modern Americans anticipate eagerly the end of the winter and the coming of spring. Imagine how much more you would celebrate the coming of spring if you had spent the winter as a soldier in camp or on campaign.