02 February 2009 by Published in: General musings 8 comments

Mississippi, historically the poorest state in the Union, has now launched a Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission:

Lawmakers Get Ball Rolling on Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
By Danny Barrett Jr.

Vicksburg Post

Events planned in Mississippi for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War may yet have a state organizing panel if the Legislature OKs a measure filed this week.

Senate Bill 2474 would establish the Mississippi Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission to plan and develop activities emphasizing the state’s role in the war, with an emphasis on military battles held within the state’s borders. Also, it would encourage participation by local tourism, historical and other groups to participate in events to be announced. Currently, all other states involved with the Civil War have some form of planning commission in place.

Among six sponsors of the bill, authored by state Sen. Lydia Chassaniol, R-Winona, is Sen. Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg. The bill is before the Tourism Committee.

Staff support would be provided by the Mississippi Development Authority, with the state economic development agency’s tourism division acting as oversight. Vicksburg would be represented on the panel by the directors of the Vicksburg National Military Park, a federal entity, and Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, a local agency.

Other members would consist of the directors of MDA, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, historic preservation groups, one private citizen to be appointed by the governor and a member of the state House and Senate to be appointed by the leaders of those chambers. Also, the bill allows for an advisory council made up of private citizens to provide input to the commission.

Most anniversary events will be in 2011 and culminate in a musical celebration July 4, 2013, the 150th anniversary of Vicksburg’s surrender. In the absence of a coordinating committee on the federal level, as multiple bills in Congress to establish one haven’t passed, state- and local-level groups are leading the way.

Funding is a major challenge of many states and localities’ event planning. Vicksburg’s events for the sesquicentennial are being financed by a $100,000 grant from Preserve America, a White House initiative geared to preserve cultural and natural heritage.

The funds are marked for bringing in tourism industry gurus such as tour directors and travel writers to highlight the siege of Vicksburg and preceding battles in Port Gibson and Raymond.

General plans are in place for events at the military park and at the Old Court House Museum, with specifics to come later.

Now, I recognize that Ohio is facing an economic crisis of almost unprecedented proportions. I live here, so I see it and hear it every day. I wrote the governor of Ohio a letter about this subject just over a year ago, before the bottom dropped out, and never got a response. But so is Michigan, and its governor has decreed that there be a sesquicentennial commission. There simply is no excuse.

Come on, Governor Ted Strickland: do the right thing here. I had high hopes that you would do more to celebrate Ohio’s participation in the Civil War than the corrupt imbecile that preceded you in office (ironically, the great-grandson of a president of the United States), but you’ve disappointed me so far. Time grows short; 2011 is less than 24 months away, and Virginia will begin its commemoration of these events this year on the 150th anniversary of the John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry. PLEASE DO SOMETHING….

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 02nd Feb 2009 at 8:57 pm

    We in PA have had one going for about two years now. I’ve been doing some work with them in preparing for it. They are very much aiming for a diverse human story rather than a military story this time around (compared to the centennial). Nevertheless, should be great!

    The Federal Government hasn’t done anything and most likely won’t. The Civil War has become a politically incorrect hot potato which nobody in Washington wants to touch. It will be up to state and local governments to make sure this thing gets done! Unfortunately, there are less and less funds available through these to pay for them. We can only pray things will get better in the next two years so more can be devoted to this project by 2011.

  2. Kent Dorr
    Mon 02nd Feb 2009 at 10:31 pm

    What???? Ohio??? Civil War??? I mean come on…Ohio only provided some 320,000 of her loyal sons to preserve the Union…I guess their sacrifice and the some 7000 Ohio boys who gave the last full measure aren’t worth remembering. Another Ohio disgrace.

  3. Randy
    Tue 03rd Feb 2009 at 11:11 am

    I couldn’t agree more with Kent. One doesn’t have to be a CW historian to understand the importance of such a level of sacrifice. 7,000 kia is something every living individual, including modern day politicians, should take note of. Shame on them.
    I will just never understand the PC attitude which includes sweeping the CW under the rug, as if it never existed. On the contrary, it should be remembered and commemorated, if for no other reason, for those 7,000 Ohio boys and their over 600,000 comrades in arms of both sides.


  4. Tue 03rd Feb 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Virginia has a Sesquecentennial Commission, and of note many of the Cities in Virginia are preparing for this event. Here are some Southern States Participating..

    Virginia’s Site: http://www.virginiacivilwar.org/

    North Carolina’s Site: http://www.nccivilwar150.com/

    South Carolina Site: http://sc150civilwar.palmettohistory.org/

    Georgia: http://www.georgia.org/Culture/Sesquicentennial.htm

    These are some of the Southern States in Addition to Miss. that are active in preparation for the upcoming Sesquecentennial. Virginia will have License Plates available to promote the event.

    Getting States Involved in the Sesquecentennial is a Top Down and Bottom Up Grass Roots Effort. State Legislators need to be approached and made aware of the upcoming significane to their state.

    From the Bottom Up Process, I started a My Family (Beta 2 Version) Web Site which is Ideal for a Members or Descendents approach to finding out more about the Regimental History of their Ancestor’s Units. Once you find a collection of passionate descendents, and collobratively assemble the backbone of the Units: History, Heritage, Company Rosters, Photos, Letters, Artifacts, and other collateral material – You have a Basis for those Interested Descendents to Appreciate the Heritage of their Ancestor’s Service and Sacrifice.

    What if this Bottom Up Project was part of the Project of the GAR, SCV, UDC, and National Park Service, Where anyone sharing the Identity of their Ancestor could Immediately Discover a Site Featuring Their Ancestor’s Regiment, where they could “Upload” their own CW Collections of Ancestor Photos and Letters. More Importantly, the excitement of the Sesquecentennial and the understanding of their Ancestors Service could be better appreciated.

    If you are Passionate and Knowledgable about your Ancestor’s Regiment, and if there is no site available for the Descendents to “Participate” in – You can easily start a Regimental Site. http://www.myfamily.com (beta), and if you want to get rid of the Ads – there’s an Annual Fee of $30. Each member gets 1GB of Space Per Month to upload Photos, Video, and Files. Your Photos can be uploaded in larger file size, so the viewing and quality can be very good. You can organize photos in a story, and with a 1-800 Number and a PIN #, You Can Add a Voice Story to a Series of Photos. The File Cabinet will allow most Native Application Files: MS Word, Excel, PPS, Wave, or PDF’s. You can have viewing Guests or Participating Members, allowed to Post and Invite their Family. The Format is part of the New Generations Group of “My Family”, Ancestory dot Com, Roots Web – A Family Friendly Site that is Absolutely Ideal for a Military Community.

    The other day when I was Petersburg National Battlefield Park, I shared the Information of my Web Site with some of the Park Interperters. They can Immediately Share with a Visitor, the Unit that an Ancestor was assigned to, and if the NPS has your Unit could provide a Print Out or Web Link to the Visitor. And, Now – the Regiment You Worked on to provide details is now available to a descendent, who now can become in the future as passionate as you are.

    From the Bottom Up – We All Can be Involved.

  5. Randy
    Tue 03rd Feb 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Just for fun I checked the organizational chart of the five corps commanded by W.T. Sherman when he captured and occupied my North Carolina hometown in 1865. There were no less than 60 Ohio units (infantry, artillery and cavalry), that converged on our town from three directions and after capturing it, spent the better part of a month here. Think of those guys, mostly kids, far from their homes in Ohio and fighting for their country. Someone will have to explain to me why that is not worthy of commemoration 150 years later. My ancestors were on the other side, but those boys from Ohio will be remembered here, at least by me. Come on Ohio, ante up.


  6. Chris Van Blargan
    Sun 08th Feb 2009 at 11:38 am

    Nothing new for Ohio, where it seems you can’t have a historic park unless you erect a 5,000 sq. ft. picnic pavillion in the middle of whatever you are preserving.(see Ft. Ancient – nothing says history like a bunch of inebriated locals playing football on Labor Day smack in the middle of one of the most important Paleo-Indian earthworks in North America). My bet is that the state has little to no plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, even though two of its most significant battles (in terms of strategic objectives) were fought within the state. That being said, you may wish to talk to the folks at the OHS about their success at Fort Meigs, one of the few impressive historic parks in Ohio. Somehow, the state found enough funding to make that a truly worthwhile visit (albeit not enough money to make it known to the outside world). That model may give you some help with your efforts at Buffington Island.


  7. Tony Gunter
    Thu 12th Feb 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “The funds are marked for bringing in tourism industry gurus such as tour directors and travel writers to highlight the siege of Vicksburg and preceding battles in Port Gibson and Raymond.”

    Unfortunately, these highlights will probably be the same tired myths begun by Ed Bearss in the 1980’s that totally whiffed on the analysis of Raymond and essentially wrote McPherson out of the Port Gibson battle even though he carried the day there.

    Pretty sad that the #2 individual responsible for the success at Vicksburg has never been given his own monument in that park (#1 being Grant himself, of course). Ohio should feel embarassed that her native son has been slighted so terribly.

  8. Jeff Giambrone
    Mon 18th May 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Actually, Mississippi DOES NOT have a Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. The bill to establish it passed the state senate, but our far-sighted house of representatives let the bill die in committee.

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