MEDIA ALERT/PHOTO OPP: Rare Artifacts Installed in Civil War Exhibit Friday

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 13, 2013
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,
Julianna Olsen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3039,

MEDIA ALERT/PHOTO OPP: Rare Artifacts Installed in Civil War Exhibit Friday

Ramsey letter arrives from National Archives, Virginia Battle Flag & Tiffany sword put in place.

WHAT: The media is invited to photograph the last group of artifacts as they are installed in the “Minnesota and the Civil War” exhibit (opening March 2, 2013.)
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 15, 3 p.m.
WHERE: Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN 55102

  • Ramsey Letter – The Confederate siege of Fort Sumter on April 12-13, 1861, effectively launched the country into a Civil War. At the time, Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was in Washington D.C. On hearing the news he rushed to the Secretary of War's office to offer up the first troops to fight for the Union.

    "I found the secretary with his hat on and papers in his hand, about to leave his office. I said, 'My business is simply as Governor of Minnesota to tender a thousand men to defend the government.''Sit down immediately,' he replied, 'and write the tender you have made, as I am now on my way to the President’s mansion.'"
    -Letter from Gov. Alexander Ramsey to Secretary of War Simon Cameron, April 14, 1861. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

    Ramsey Letter
  • Virginia Battle Flag – Pvt. Marshall Sherman of St. Paul captured this flag from the 28th Virginia Infantry at Pickett’s Charge, during the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Though claims have been made to return the flag to Virginia, many argue that it should remain in Minnesota to honor the state’s soldiers who fought and died at Gettysburg.

    VA battle flag
  • Tiffany & Co. Sword – Sword made by Tiffany & Co. in 1862. Col. Henry C. Lester of Winona, commander of the Third Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, gave up this sword to his captors after being tricked by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    Lester sword
  • Additional Artifacts – A number of Civil War artifacts will have been recently installed including a mourning dress, a Civil War soldier’s uniform, cannon and artillery including a very rare land mine recovered in 1863 from Blakely, Alabama.


  • Exhibit: Dan Spock, Director, Minnesota History Center
  • Artifacts: Adam Scher, Senior Curator, Minnesota Historical Society
  • Sesquicentennial Project: Randal Dietrich, Project Lead, Civil War Sesquicentennial Project

ABOUT: The Civil War divided the United States in two, left more than 750,000 dead and resulted in the release of four million people from bondage. Through more than 100 artifacts as well as firsthand accounts drawn from letters, diaries, memoirs and reminiscences, learn about the everyday lives and the often extraordinary witness of individual Minnesotans during the war. Exhibit run dates: March 2, 2013 – Sept. 8, 2013. 

"Minnesota and the Civil War" is funded in part by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.