News Release: MassMu Civil War Display Commemorates Sesquicentennial

News Release:  MassMu Civil War Display Commemorates Sesquicentennial

A new segment of Massillon and the War of the Rebellion now can be seen in a second-floor display area of the Massillon Museum.  It features two artifacts of significance from the permanent collection.

The Brigadier General’s frock coat in the display bears the shoulder bars and button pattern of a Major General, but the pattern of button holes clearly demonstrates that it was tailored as the coat of a Brigadier General.  For an unknown reason, it was altered prior to becoming a part of the Massillon Museum’s permanent collection.  The coat belonged to Brigadier General William Henry Baldwin of Cincinnati.  Baldwin was serving with Garibaldi in his efforts to unify Italy when the American Civil War began.  He immediately returned to the United States, where he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 83rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He served with that regiment throughout the war, participating in the Vicksburg Campaign, the Red River Campaign, and the Campaign to capture Mobile, Alabama.  During this latter campaign in 1865, he led his regiment in its assault and capture of Confederate Fort Blakely, near Mobile Bay.  For his gallantry he was brevetted Brigadier General.  After the war he became a prominent attorney in the Cincinnati area.  The frock coat, c. 1865, was a gift to the Massillon Museum from Robert and Mary Albright in 1963.

The first national flag of the Confederacy was a gift to the Museum from Edward Baldwin, son of William Henry Baldwin, 100 years after it was handmade—between July and November, 1861—by a “Ladies Aid Society,” as written within the white stripe of the flag.  This can be ascertained by the eleven stars in the flag’s upper left quarter.  The origin of the flag is uncertain; however, the donor indicated that it was captured by his father’s regiment at the Battle of Fort Blakely, near Mobile Bay, Alabama, in 1865.  If the flag was captured at Fort Blakely, it probably belonged to one of the Missouri regiments that garrisoned that fort and surrendered to the 83rd OVI.

The Civil War mini-exhibition will be the fifth of seven—each highlighting a specific aspect of the war or the Museum’s collection—to be displayed throughout the Civil War sesquicentennial, 2011 through 2015.  Christopher Craft, who is the Museum’s special projects coordinator and a Civil War historian, organizes the displays. 

The exhibition may be seen during regular Museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Museum visitors can also see The Immel Circus, A Century of Service: Massillon Community Hospital School of Nursing, Celebration in Art, Acrylic Paintings by Sherri Hornbrook, and Artifacts of Faith: Religious Objects from the Permanent Collection.  The Museum shop and the operable vintage photobooth are located in the Museum lobby.  

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark.

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in the heart of downtown Massillon.  A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.  For more information, call the Museum at 330.833.4061 or visit

Tags: exhibit, news release, civil war
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