Featured Texas Civil War Museum John Schwartze May 2, 2017 1 Comments, Join the Conversation Photos by Q Concepts A Microcosm of History All Under One Roof The topic of the American Civil War has become a hot potato for our educational system, since the voices in the social justice crusade seem to forget feelings aren’t facts. Thankfully, there are still outfits providing an unbiased look at this period in our nation’s history. RECOIL was recently offered a glimpse at the preservation efforts of the Texas Civil War Museum, which has one of the country’s most impressive displays of historic memorabilia from this era. Here, anyone can observe, learn, and imagine what it was like to live through this tumultuous time. Texas, with its economy largely based in cotton during that time, became part of the Confederacy during the Civil War — but if you think that skews the museum’s collection or interpretation of the conflict one way or another, nothing could be further from the truth. The first gallery, part of the Ray Richey collection, is the Infantry Gallery. The Union artifacts line the north wall; the Confederate artifacts are along the south wall, and they’re a mirror image of each other. The coat Grant wore when Lee surrendered to him, as well as one of Grant’s cigars and presentation sword, are some of the many relics you’ll be able to check out. Firearms lovers can revel in the fact that nearly every make of gun used during the war can be seen, in addition to some of the first examples of hand grenades. Texas Confederate Flags on exhibit from the Texas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy Texas Confederate Museum Collection. From left to right: unknown Battle of Shiloh flag, 1st Texas Infantry, 3rd Texas Cavalry, 1st National Pattern early war, 20th Texas Infantry flag. Col. John Walker, 8th TX Cavalry, Terry’s Texas Rangers, personal artifacts. The next gallery is the Cavalry Gallery, displayed in the same juxtaposed layout. J.E.B. Stuart’s sword and some of his personal artifacts can be seen, in addition to various saddles and accouterments used by the cavalry. You’ll then find yourself in the Medical Gallery, examining the amputation kits and assorted hospital supplies used in the war. Another fascinating aspect of the museum is that pretty much every artifact has the name and some history of the actual person who used it. Confederate 1-pound Rains Hand Grenade. The streamer was designed to keep the nose point down, and when the plunger hit the ground it would strike the percussion cap, sending a spark into the powder chamber causing it to explode. Model 1860 Colt Army Revolver given to U.S. Major Gen. Nathaniel Banks by Sam Colt in 1861. The Navy Gallery contains one of Matthew Fontaine Maury’s swords and one of only a few known remaining torpedoes from the era. When you reach the Artillery Gallery you’ll be greeted by an original limber and carriage, as well as cannon balls, some of which are dissected so you can see the materials they were packed with. Top: Robinson Sharpes Carbine, .52 caliber, percussion breech loader. Bottom: Tarpley Carbine, .52 caliber. Rear Admiral David Farragut said “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” in response to these infernal machines in Mobil Bay. The Keg Mine was developed by General Gabriel Rains, Chief of Confederate Torpedo Service. When you come out of that gallery, you’ll enter the second collection belonging to the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The exhibit contains a flag gallery, plus military, home front, and veterans sections. Combined with Ray Richey’s collection, you can view approximately two dozen flags used during the Texas Civil War at any given time of the 95 that rotate on exhibit. The third collection is the Victorian Dresses gallery, covering four decades of the Victorian period from 1860 through the turn of the century. Approximately 40 dresses are on display as well as fans, jewelry, hats, and other items a woman from this era would’ve owned. A hat worn by Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind is also on display. Top: Tranter Revolver .36 caliber five-shot cylinder, made in Birmingham, England. Bottom: Adams Revolver, .44 caliber, five-shot cylinder, made in London, England. The Artillery Gallery contains a variety of artifacts including an original limber that would hold 40 rounds and was pulled by a team of six horses. Note all barrels are original and placed upon reproduction carriages. The museum experience is generally self-guided, but guided tours can be requested for an extra fee. Flash photography and video are allowed. A historian is on hand in the afternoons to answer any questions, and a 30-minute movie on Texas’ role in the war plays continuously each day. The museum offers all types of programs people can participate in, such as living histories that demonstrate firing drills, show people how to make cartridges, and explain the clothing of the era. Regular programming includes battlefield medicine, Victorian ladies, the life of the soldier, and mourning customs. A string band playing music from the 19th century also usually visits once or twice a month. Various speakers and authors periodically hold lectures and do book signings at the museum, as well. Judy Richey’s Victorian Dresses 1860-1900. The display includes 16 cases that showcase about 40 dresses of more than 300 that rotate on exhibit. Scarlett O’Hara’s Drapery Hat from the 1939 blockbuster and best picture movie Gone With the Wind. A leadership camp is a regular program held in cooperation with local schools. Students selected by their teachers learn the war wasn’t a clear-cut, good guy/bad guy event, but rather a complicated experience where many people were victims of circumstance. Showing what it would’ve been like when friends become enemies based only on their addresses and the tough decisions they had to make helps convey the empathy that’s often absent from discussions about the civil war. The museum also offers teacher’s in-service training to help educators understand how to teach the war in the midst of political correctness. Musical instruments belonging to the Federal Army Military Bands. Pictured are drums, bugles, Jew harp, bones, fifes, flute, coronets, saxhorns, and a concertina. You certainly won’t have any problem getting up close and personal with the items in the full-length glass display cases. You’ll also find lots of books on the war in the gift shop. All in all, it’s an amazing facility that honors our nation’s history. We were privileged to get a look at their artifacts and couldn’t help but think to ourselves, no matter what side of the war they were on, someone actually wore this uniform, shot this gun, or waved this flag to stand up for what they believed. Texas Civil War Museum Address: 760 Jim Wright Freeway North Fort Worth, TX 76108 Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and during inclement weather Admission: Adults: $6 Children 7 through 12: $3 Children 6 and under: Free with an adult Group rates available Phone: (817) 246-2323 URL: www.texascivilwarmuseum.com Explore RECOILweb:Monday Morning Gomez: Five Year Old Kung Fu (Pistol Ready Positions)Disabling a Gun with a BulletFirst Look | RaidOps Centauro KnifeNot Your Daddy's James Bond NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). 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