Monday, September 27, 2010

Crescent City Confederates (pt. 3)

One of the most phenomenal places in the Big Easy is Confederate Memorial Hall. Located in the Warehouse District, across the street from the enormous WWII museum, Memorial Hall is the oldest operating museum in the state of Louisiana. It was built as a repository for Civil War artifacts, reports, records, and memorabilia. On January 8, 1891, the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans (1815), the building was presented to the Louisiana Historical Association.

At the front of the building sits an eight-inch Columbiad cannon. In 1899, survivors of the 5th Company Washington Artillery, Slocomb's Battery, placed the monument at its present location to commemorate thirteen members of their company who were killed or wounded around the gun during the siege of Mobile, Alabama.

Many of the artifacts within were donated by Louisiana residents and by Varina Howell Davis, President Jefferson Davis' wife. In 1893, the museum saw its biggest turnout, with 60,000 paying their respects to to the remains of Jefferson Davis, who died in New Orleans, and was buried there until 1893, when Mrs. Davis moved his remains to the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. One of the most fascinating artifacts in the museum is a lock of Robert E. Lee's hair, which is encased in small a glass container, and exhibited in a display case alongside his personal items.

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