Civil War exhibit marks reopening of history mall at Ohio Historical Center

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COLUMBUS – The Ohio Historical Center’s History Mall has reopened with a look at life on the Civil War battlefield through the eyes of Ohio’s soldiers, a colorful display of quilts from a variety of eras and a new interactive children’s area.

Paying tribute. Ohio and the Civil War pays tribute to their contributions with a display of several items, including newly-restored battle flags, weapons, medical and camp equipment and uniforms.

During the Civil War years, 1861-1865, an estimated 346,326 Ohioans served their country, with 11,588 losing their lives. Ohio provided a total of 230 regiments, 26 independent artillery batteries and five independent sharpshooter companies.

Battle flags. The newly restored battle flags in the display belonged to the 127th, 7th, 2nd and 76th Ohio volunteer infantries.

The restoration and stabilization of these and six other flags have been made possible through state capital improvement funds of $250,000 as well as proceeds of the Save the Flags private fund-raising campaign.

Photographs and information about these are available in the online exhibit, Fight for the Colors at www.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/exhibits/.

Quilt display. A variety of newly-acquired quilts of differing styles and from varying time periods are also featured in the reopened history mall. These include an 1880 piece made with an image of James A. Garfield and his family and a colorful quilt made sometime between 1920-1940.

The Ohio Historical Society’s quilt holdings include pieces from the late 18th century to the present day. Of the more than 400 quilts in the collection, the majority were made and used in Ohio.

For the children. The History Mall also features a new interactive children’s corner. Inside and around a log cabin, children can discover books, games, toys, wooden bowls, kitchen tools, clothes and various other objects from the early 1800s.

Cloth dolls, a butter churn, alphabet cards, McGuffey readers and clothes for playing dress-up are just a few of the items kids can use to explore the past.

An exhibit area contains objects from the Ohio Historical Society collections that would have had an impact on a child’s life during the early 1800s.

Online exhibit. The society also offers an online exhibit of its battle flags on its Web site, www.ohiohistory.org, featuring the digitized photographs and descriptive information about each flag.

The newly restored battle flags on display belonged to the following volunteer regiments:

* The 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (5th United States Colored Troops) was the first African-American regiment recruited in Ohio. The unit fought with bravery and distinction in North Carolina and Virginia.

In the fighting at Chafin’s Farm, Virginia, on Sept. 29, 1864, 85 of the regiment were killed and 248 were wounded.

* The 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was recruited primarily from northeast Ohio. They fought at Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being transferred west. There they fought at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

The regiment suffered heavy casualties attacking Taylor’s Ridge during the battle of Ringgold Gap in Georgia.

* The 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry was originally composed of a number of militia units from around the state including the Columbus Fencibles, to whom this flag belonged. The Fencibles became Company C of the regiment.

The men of the 2nd fought in the Western Theater at such battles as Shiloh, Perryville, Stone River, Chicamauga, Lookout Mountain and the Atlanta campaign.

* The 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized in Newark, Ohio, and saw action in 44 Civil War battles and skirmishes.

During the battle of Ringgold Gap, the regiment suffered casualties of nearly a quarter of its men including the loss of nine men carrying the colors.

* The men of the 93rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry were primarily recruited from southwest Ohio. The regiment served with distinction in the Western Theater, suffering more than 40 percent casualties through the course of the war.

During the fight of Orchard Knob, six men were shot down carrying the regimental colors, among them was the regimental commander, Major William Birch.

The collection. The Civil War Flags on display are part of the Ohio Battle flag collection representing flags from the Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.

The Ohio Historical Society has maintained the collection since 1970. In the mid-1960s the flags were conserved under the direction of a Flag Preservation Committee and the Ohio National Guard.

The society exhibited the hanging and furled flags for public view until 1988. Due to concern about their deteriorating condition, the museum conservators removed them for safe-keeping.

The battle flags are being restored through state capital improvement funds and the Save the Flags Campaign.

Hours and admission. The Ohio Historical Center is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. The Ohio Historical Center is closed on Mondays.

Admission is $6 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12. Parking is $3.

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