Texas Civil War Museum
Civil War in Texas
Where did the Civil War end? I'll bet you said Appomattox, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. Grant. Nope. That ended the war with the largest Confederate army, but fighting continued elsewhere in the south and Jefferson Davis was still president of the Confederacy. Fighting continued on after Lee's surrender, even after Jefferson Davis was captured by Federal forces.
No, the last battle of the Civil War took place in . . . Texas. The Battle of Palmito Ranch was fought on May 12 May 13, 1865 on the banks of the Rio Grande about twelve miles east of Brownsville, Texas. Ironically, the Confederates won this battle and then, learning of the surrenders to the east and the capture of Jefferson Davis by Union forces, they surrendered the next day.
Texas Civil War Museum
Everyone thinks of Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, even Maryland and Pennsylvania when they think of the Civil War. But Texas played a role in America's great battle between the states as well. Texans fought at major battles in the East, including Gettysburg and Antietam. Most Texans fought for the Confederacy, but at least two Texas Cavalry regiments formed up and fought on the side of the Union. The Civil War took place on both sides of the Mississippi River, and the Western Theater, while not as well known as the Eastern Theater, was home to a great deal of significant fighting, including battles in and around Texas.
The history of Texas and its involvement with the Civil War is remembered at the Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth.
The museum is located in Fort Worth. I have driven past it literally hundreds of times - it is within 10 miles of my home at one time. Every time I saw it, I would think, "I need to check that place out - is it open?" Well, I finally broke down and went for a visit on February 27, 2010. Yes, it is open. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was too!
The entrance leads you to a large gift shop with a variety of Civil War and Texas souvenirs. From there you go into the exhibits. A series of four large rooms house the large assortment of display cases. For a relatively small, out-of-the-way museum they have an excellent assortment of artifacts. You'll see a variety of uniforms, sabres and other types of equipment laid out in the display cases.
In addition, the movie Our Homes-Our Rights--Texas in the Civil War is shown in the museum's theater. The movie is well done and short enough that it won't tax your kids' patience.
I liked the display of military musical instruments, in particular. Other cool displays included cut-away examples of different types of cannon projectiles and original battle flags. Confederate general Jeb Stuart's spurs and other personal effects, a presentation sword of General U.S. Grant and an 1860 Colt Revolvers given to Major General Nathaniel Banks by Samuel Colt. Also on display is a large collection of early American dresses, part of the Judy Richey Victorian Dress Collection. I took a fellow Civil War reenactor and his wife to the museum, and she really enjoyed looking at all the dresses they had. She's an accomplished dress maker and learned a lot about how dresses from that period were actually made.
Overall, I was impressed with how nice the displays were, how well organized and well presented the artifacts were. The museum is very family friendly as well. If you are close to Fort Worth and are looking for something to do here, visit the Texas Civil War Museum. It isn't comparable to Gettysburg's Visitor Center, but it is far superior to the exhibits at Antietam - definitely worth checking out!
The Texas Civil War Museum is locatated at 760 Jim Wright Freeway North, Fort Worth Texas 76108. Locals will better recognize this address as being at exit 5B on the northbound access road of 820. For more information call them at 817/246-2323.
*Students 7-12: $3.00
*Children 6 and under: Free with adult
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