In the summer of 1864, the Union Army occupied the small farming community of Sandy Springs. Those weeks changed the lives of every family that lived through them. The exhibit explores their story. From never-before-published diaries and newly discovered letters, the firsthand accounts and struggles of local people can be understood for the first time.
Family heirlooms and artifacts treasured for 150 years are on display along with the actual guns and cannon shells that terrorized the community during the long summer of occupation. The exhibit will be on view through April 1, 2015.
Highlights from the exhibition include:
o The never-before published letters of Nellie Jett, wife of Confederate soldier Richard Burch Jett. Nellie and Richard seemed to correspond with one another throughout the war, yet only Nellie’s letters to Richard have survived. Her letters, woven through the exhibit, give an insight into a survivor’s view of military occupation. She describes in desperate terms what she has to do to keep her family alive while living in a war zone. Her letters are a testament to the strength and courage women were not credited with possessing in the 19th century.
o A “housewife” sewing kit carried throughout the Civil War by Cpl. John Stackhouse of Company K, Unit 116 of the Illinois Infantry. Along with 100,000 other members of the Federal Army, Stackhouse occupied Sandy Springs in July 1864. Unlike guns or swords, these small sewing kits were not considered valuable by soldiers or civilians and therefore after the war were either discarded or used until they were worn out. As a result, “housewives” are some of the rarest artifacts from the Civil War.
o A mystery rifle, found in the deserted Union camp in Sandy Springs after the occupation of July 1864. Although hallmarks indicate it is a Confederate rifle, it bears Federal repairs which raises the question – was it a Union or Confederate soldier who possessed the rifle?
For more information, call (404) 851-9111, ext. 2 or visit www.heritagesandysprings.org.