The Texas Civil War Museum has an amazing collection of military artifacts from the Union and the Confederate Army. Over 4,000 artifacts are stored here and rotate through the exhibits.
There are rooms full of authentic uniforms, weapons, and personal items. The exhibits are well organized and most of the artifacts are encased in wall-mounted glass cabinets. Despite being over 150 years old, the items are in excellent condition.
There are so interesting things to read about and look over. The museum features a gallery for each type of military service involved in the war. There are galleries for the Infantry, Calvary, Navy, Artillery, and Medical units. Within each gallery, the museum tries to separate the items between the North and the South. The Union artifacts are placed on one side of the room and Confederate artifacts are placed on the other. Detailed information is provided about the items on display, and also about the soldiers that used these artifacts during the war.
Over 60 historic Texas flags rotate through flag exhibit. According to the museum, it’s the largest historic flag collection in Texas. Most of the flags were donated by veterans themselves or their families. Don’t miss the enormous collection of Victorian dresses and accessories from the late 1800s. The dresses are featured in free-standing glass displays and located inside a separate room. Over 300 dresses are rotated through the display areas.
The museum can be easily spotted on the east side of Loop 820. It’s a 2-story, colonial-style building with a white facade. There’s also a tall, stand-alone sign in the front yard.
Civil War Uniforms
Up close though, some of the uniforms look very thin. Soldiers during the Civil War weighed less and were not as tall as today’s servicemen. Nutrition was lacking in the 1860s. During the war, f
The cap above was worn by Elisha Mann, a soldier in Battery C of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery. The museum does a nice job of providing the names and backgrounds of the soldiers who wore the uniforms on display.
These epaulets were accessories to the dress uniform of General David McMurtrie Gregg. The Infantry and Calvary galleries
There are dozens of rifles to check out. The barrels of these guns were much longer back then. Some of the rifles still have their bayonets attached.
Nearly all the fighting knives on display from the Confederate Army appear to be custom made. The one above has the owner’s name carved into the handle.
The Artillery exhibit has an entire row of restored cannons. The display cases across from the cannons feature different types of cannonballs and projectiles. You can also see uniforms worn by officers from the Confederate and Union Army.
Gear and Personal Items
Soldiers during the Civil War were constantly on the move. Canteens and a good pair of shoes were mandatory gear. Soldiers wore knapsacks to carry their personal items, which was essentially a sturdy backpack.
A rolled up blanket could be strapped down on top of a knapsack. Personal items could be stored inside the pack and kept out of the weather. There’s an entire display of knapsack items, including utensils, shaving kits, and tobacco pipes once used during the war.
Most soldiers owned a “housewife”, a sewing kit given to them by their wife or another family member. It opens up like a pocketbook and contains random pockets for buttons, needles, and thread. The military didn’t supply many extra pieces of clothing. Instead, soldiers were expected to maintain their uniforms for an extended period of time. Good sewing kits were in high demand during the war.
During their downtime, soldiers passed the time by playing cards, chess, and other games. This antique deck of cards features the United States flag on top and the Queen of Diamonds exposed on the bottom half.
Some of the items in the Medical exhibit are rather grim. Amputation was used to treat serious wounds to arms and legs. Thousands of amputations were performed during the war. This amputation kit includes a bone saw, tourniquet, and a range of scalpels.
Civil War Flags
Historic flags can be seen throughout the museum. One of the largest flags represents the 116th Illinois Infantry Regiment. The flag almost takes up the entire wall. Listed on its white stripes are the 13 major battles the regiment participated in.
General Grant’s Sword
This ceremonial sword was presented to General Ulysses S. Grant by Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Grant was the commanding general of the Union Army and would later become President of the United States.
Photographs of Soldiers
Authentic photographs of soldiers are placed alongside the uniforms and military gear. The photos help to humanize the exhibits. Some photos are portraits like the ones above. There are others taken at camps and battlefields.
Jefferson Davis Piano
Jefferson Davis was a U.S. Congressman and later became the first and only President of the Confederate States. He purchased this piano for his niece in 1860. It was shipped by boat all the way from New York to Jefferson’s home in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Lt. Colonel John Walker
The personal items in this case belong to John Walker, a Lieutenant colonel in the 8th Texas Calvary of the Confederate Army. The display says he joined Terry’s Texas Rangers in 1861 and was elected captain of Company K. During a battle in Kentucky, he was shot and lost partial use of his arm. He later served as Provost Marshall of Orange County, Texas until the war was finished.
Battle of Palmito Ranch
The Battle of Palmito Ranch is depicted in this amazing model created by students of Highland High School from Gilbert, Arizona. The men, horses, and weapons are painted in stunning details. This must of took a tremendous about of time to create, so hats off to the students who worked so hard on this project.
The battle took place east of Brownsville, Texas on May 12th, 1865. Many historians regard it as the last battle of the Civil War. General Lee had already surrendered and the war was technically over, but the two forces clashed anyway. An audio sound byte can be played that provides a short overview of the battle.
Victorian Dress Collection
An entire room is dedicated to a large collection of Victorian dresses and accessories from the late 1800s. There are two rows of stand-alone glass displays. Visitors can walk around each display for a 360-degree view of the dresses. Below each dress is a small label, explaining more about its style, function, and the year it was made.
The dresses are elegantly displayed and have been finely preserved. According to the museum, the blue dress on the left is a ball gown made of silk from the 1860s. The dress with the taupe color on the right is a reception gown from the 1890s.
|Address:||760 Jim Wright Fwy|
White Settlement, TX 76108