Bollinger County Museum of Natural History hosts Civil War exhibit

Sunday, May 20, 2012
Michael Comer of the Department of Natural Resources displays reproductions of what a Civil War soldier might have carried with him in the field.

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The contents of a Civil War soldier's rucksack fit on half a table Saturday at the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History.

"They traveled a lot lighter than people may think," said Michael Comer of the Department of Natural Resources, who spent Saturday at the museum with displays of items the soldiers carried in the field and fired his musket in hourly demonstrations before presenting a lecture.

"They carried everything on their back, basically," Comer said.

Dressed in a Confederate uniform, Michael Comer tamps a bullet down the barrel of his gun prior to firing. (Linda Redeffer ~ Banner Press)

A soldier's bag was made of painted cloth that was lighter and sturdier than leather and would often contain a tin plate and eating utensils, a small mirror, toothbrush, reflective candle to read by in the dark, playing cards, a Bible, and a nightcap to keep him warm on cold nights.

"You would find religious tracts," Comer said. "Camp life could be boring and reading material was in demand."

On the battlefield, soldiers carried muskets and everything they needed to load them. The musket Comer demonstrated in his Confederate uniform was an 1842 Springfield musket.

"The Confederates got a lot of them because they captured the warehouse in the South they had been stored in," he said.

Soldiers could load and fire their muskets two or three times in one minute, Comer said.

Pertinent address:

207 Mayfield Drive, Marble Hill, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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