In remembrance of the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War and to coincide with our April Civil War programs, we have created a Civil War exhibit featuring items from a special collection donated to ROPL in May of 1966 by Ralzemond Drake Parker. Mr. Parker was the son of Royal Oak pioneers, Ralzemond A. and Sarah Drake Parker.
Included in the collection are a rare Kerr .45 revolver used by Confederate soldiers; a bullet-ridden board from Antietam; an assortment of lead bullets, grape shots, rifle shells, and Minié balls; a bayonet; U.S. battlefield markers; and rebel gloves. The highlight of the collection is Ralzemond A. Parker’s very own canteen and knapsack used during his service with the 17th Michigan Volunteer Regiment. The 17th Michigan was also known as the “Stonewall Regiment” due to their bravery and accomplishments in their first battle at South Mountain, Maryland, on September 14, 1862. Accompanying the artifacts on display are many non-circulating books published by the Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission that emphasize the role Michigan played in the War. While the books in this exhibit are not available for check-out, books may be perused in the library by visitors once the exhibit has concluded.
To further mark this historic anniversary, we are having two special Civil War programs. The first, Meet a Union Soldier is on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:00 PM and features Civil War re-enactor Michael Golden who will show us what it was like to be a Union Soldier. The second, An Evening with Abraham and Mary Lincoln is on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:00 PM. Fred and Bonnie Priebe will be presenting a reenactment of the Lincolns that reveals a side of Abraham and Mary not widely known.
The Parker Civil War Collection exhibit will be on display through the end of April.
For further information, here are some links about Michigan and the Civil War, the sesquicentennial of the War, and a timeline:
- Michigan and the Civil War
- National Park Service Sesquicentennial Commemoration
- Timeline of the Civil War