Sunday, March 1, 2009

Memories are made of This...

After a long and hectic week, I could not wait to head out and take some photos. We decided to shift gears and try some small museums. Because of that decision, we ended up meeting some very wonderful people and learning a lot about the history of Jacksonville.

We selected the Museum of Southern History and arrived at what on the outside looked a little unassuming.

But once inside, the place was filled with all kinds of historical items from the Civil War and pictures that highlighted events during the war here in Jacksonville. Of course, there were the usual exhibits of generals from the Confederacy...

But, the two men who help maintain the museum gave us a personalized guided tour that made the place ten times more exciting. They pointed out the importance of particular battles laid out on mock terrain with trees, troups and houses...

They put a human face on the uniforms by describing which units each uniform represented. As I looked first at the uniforms and then the pictures of the soldiers it made me realize here was someone's husband, brother, son, or uncle who may or may not have returned from the war. Click the photo of the pictures and look closely at the faces, they all seem so young...

They pointed out pictures of a group of black slaves who fought for the South. They may have been slaves but from the pictures they wore their uniforms proudly.

Strange, but war causes men to become creative in ways they would not imagine in peace time. Below is a picture of a small submarine created by Southern soldiers during the war. It probably held only two or three men, but it worked!

One of the men described how this flag was believed to have been draped over Lincoln's casket and in the rush to complete it the number of stars that could be seen on each side got reversed. It's yellowed with age but there is something solemn about it.

The same can be said for the Confederate flag. It survived the battle of Olustee and they pointed out the holes that were from bullets and not age.

Another very interesting fact they pointed out was the paddle boat, The Maple Leaf, that was sunk near what is now the area of town called Mandarin. The inscription on the painting reads: "The Maple Leaf... last port of call Jacksonville Florida April 1, 1864." The boat still rests somewhere off the Mandarin point.

We talked and talked about all the history we have photographed in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Alex mentioned Boone Hall Plantation, and they were very familiar with the farm. I mentioned taking some pictures of Confederate Park near Springfield and one of the men's faces lit up when I mentioned it. He asked if I saw the plaque their museum had dedicated to the 1914 Confederate Veterans Reunion that sits in the park and I had to answer "no." There was a brief moment of disappointment in his face that made me feel a little ashamed. It seemed Alex and I had been so focused on how the park used to look, we had not taken the time to view the plaque and read the history of the park itself.

As we parted I told them I would feature the museum on my blog and mention the fact they were so nice. They made jokes about that but they really were, so much so that Alex and I drove downtown to the park to read the plaque in the photo below...


  1. I read with real pleasure your most interesting and vivid account of your visit to the Museum of Southern History. Indeed, I didn't know that black slaves proudly fought for the South in the Confederate army - and your photos make History so much more attractive than I was prepared to admit ! Have a nice day.

  2. I cannot say too much about the two men at the museum. They made the visit more than worthwhile. I too was very surprised that slaves fought for the South as well.

  3. For me, this is an interesting entries that is helping me to improve my knowledge. As you know, I'm from Panama, so what I learned in History, is about my country and its relation with other countries. I never had heard about the Civil War of Jacksonville, but I have to admit that is really nice learn about it. Wonderful entries =) and Thank you so much! I learned somethin new!

  4. place looks very cool................
    good photography..........