Civil War exhibit opens Wednesday in St. Joseph

Published 7:00 am Friday, December 14, 2012

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center is preparing to open a new, two-year exhibit, “Southwest Michigan in the Civil War.”

The grand opening celebration for the exhibit will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.“Thank God for Michigan,” reportedly exclaimed President Lincoln, as Michigan troops arrived in Washington D.C., the first from any “western” state.

Though far from any battle site, Southwest Michigan played an important role in the Civil War. Troops from Berrien County served in the famed “Iron Brigade” at Gettysburg, in the unit that captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and escorted President Lincoln’s funeral procession.

Several dozen local men were enrolled in the 1st Michigan Colored Infantry.  Civil War veterans are buried in cemeteries, and local streets and places bear their names.  St. Joseph’s Memorial Hall, built for the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union Veterans’ organization, still stands on St. Joseph’s Lake Boulevard.