Local Civil War History on Display
Faded letters, daguerreotypes and 19th century sheet music are under glass at the Ingram Library. They are just a slice of the library’s special collections and represent a local connection to the Civil War. Also on display is salvage from the sunken warship, the CSS Nashville.
The Civil War exhibit at the Ingram Library shows Fannie Hargrave (left), Milton E. Pentecost, and Martha Pulliam in this 1860 daguerreotype on the left. The daguerreotype on the right is of Fannie’s husband; Confederate officer James N. Carson in January 1864. He was killed in Cedartown during a Union raid on July 3, 1864. James was trying to escape from the back of a private home when he was shot. Fannie was pregnant at the time. Letters, photographs and a booklet were donated to Ingram Library’s Special Collections by Fannie’s great-grandson, Graves Ivey, in 1999.
The exhibit, in the ground floor of the library, is a companion to a book discussion series, “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War,” which begins at UWG on Sunday, Jan. 15.
Among the letters is one from Lou E. Hightower, of Powelton, Ga., to Fannie Hargrave Carson, of Villa Rica. Hightower writes that her husband, James N. Carson, a supply officer for the Confederate Army, was shot in the back during a Union Army raid in Cedartown on July 3,1864.
“From all the facts that have come to my knowledge, I have little or no hope that your husband is alive,” Hightower wrote.
The letters show the “the concerns of the average citizen in the midst of this traumatic rift in the country,” said Suzanne Durham, the head of special collections.
Also display is a small Ku Klux Klan book. It describes the origins, rituals, practices and purpose of the first group that was organized in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866.
Graves Ivey, Fannie’s great grandson, donated letters, photographs and the KKK booklet to Ingram Library’s Special Collections in 1999.
An iron bolt, a ceramic saucer fragment, a stoneware jar and other items also on display are from the CSS Nashville. The USS Montauk destroyed the converted passenger ship in 1863. It sank to the bottom of Ogeechee River, near Seven Mile Bend, outside Savannah. These items are usually stored at the Antonio J. Waring Jr. Archeological Laboratory.
For the book discussion series, participants will read: “March,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Geraldine Brooks; the anthology “America’s War”; and James M. McPherson’s “Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam.”
Keith Bohannon, UWG associate professor of history, will lead the discussions.
“We’ll look from an objective point of view at the significance of the war and how it affected people’s lives and changed the United States,” Bohannon said.
The exhibit and participation in the book discussion are free and open to the community. Subsequent discussions will be on alternate Sunday afternoons through March 11.
To register for the book discussion, go to https://apps.westga.edu/limesurvey/index.php?sid=19159&lang=en.
The discussion series is made possible with a $3,000 grant from the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Penelope Melson Society, the library’s friends organization, provided local support for the series.
The Ingram Library is one of 65 libraries nationwide and one of four in Georgia that received grants to host the series, which will encourage participants to consider the legacy of the Civil War and emancipation.
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