Artifact of the Month

October 2015 Artifacts of the Month | Palmetto Cockades

In 1861, the state of South Carolina altered its flag to include a palmetto tree as a symbol of defense and resilience.  During the American Revolution, palmettos, which are ubiquitous to the South Carolina coast, provided much needed protection from British cannon at forts. The palmetto was a reminder of the strength of South Carolina and served as a poignant connection between the American Revolution and secession.

August 2015 Artifacts of the Month | Necklace, Earrings, and Brooch Made of Hair

Human hair was frequently used as an accessory or ornament before, during, and after the Civil War. Often hair was clipped off a deceased loved one and woven to create flowers, or into a broach as a sign of remembrance. Just as often, hair jewelry was exchanged between loved ones as a sign of devotion and sentimentality. In the spring of 1861, as secession was declared throughout the South, and war became increasingly likely, daily rituals between loved ones continued unhindered. In Florida, Isaac M.

July 2015 Artifact of the Month | Telescope & WWI Documents

The United States was unprepared and ill-equipped when it entered World War I in 1917. As the military scrambled to gather men and equipment to fight abroad, the Navy specifically noted a deficit of ocular equipment. The Department of the Navy called on citizens to donate spyglasses and binoculars to be used on naval vessels protecting troop transports and American ports.

June 2015 Artifact of the Month | Thomas Green Penn's Hardtack

The Civil War is sometimes called “a Rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight.”  Laws, in both the North and the South enabled those wealthy enough to hire a substitute to take their place in the army. As the war dragged on the price of a substitute, particularly in the South, soared into the thousands of dollars. One man who took advantage of the substitute law was Thomas Green Penn, a farmer from Patrick County, Virginia. He enlisted in the 42nd Virginia Infantry in May 1861 when excitement for the war was highest.

May 2015 Artifacts of the Month | Pencil and cufflinks

On May 11, 1865, Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy, was arrested in Crawfordville, Georgia. When informed that he was to be taken to Fort Warren, he remembered that among prisoners, Fort Warren enjoyed a relatively favorable reputation. In his autobiography, he described his situation upon arriving at Fort Warren on May 25th, “The door was locked. For the first time in my life I had the full realization of being a prisoner. I was alone.” Throughout his imprisonment Stephens benefited from small kindnesses from the soldiers who ensured his confinement.

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