- 4. CIVIL WAR COLLECTION DONATED TO PARK SERVICE A massive collection of artifacts relating to the Trans-Mississippi region of the Civil War has been acquired by the National Park Service (NPS). The
$4.5 million agreement also includes the acquisition of a 20-acre property with a five-bedroom Victorian home that serves as a museum. It is located directly across the street from the Wilson�s Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Missouri, which is operated by the National Park Service. Tours of the museum will be included in the price of admission to the park.
Tom Sweeney, a retired radiologist from Springfield, Missouri, amassed this collection that consists of thousands of artifacts including diaries, uniforms, weapons, and flags. Many of the items have been used for illustrations in the Time-Life book series about the Civil War. Some of the more significant items of note include the sword belt, buckle, and sash worn by General Patrick Cleburne when he was killed at the Battle of Franklin, and the Confederate battle flag of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles carried by Indians under Stand Watie.
Over the years, Sweeney traveled around the country attending collector�s shows and acquired hundreds of artifacts and relics. With the funds he obtained from the NPS when the agency purchased John Brown�s bible (currently on display at Harper�s Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia), Sweeney was able to finance the opening of his museum in 1993 which he called �General Sweeney�s.� The museum was named after his ancestor, General Thomas W. Sweeney, who lost an arm in the Mexican War and fought at Wilson�s Creek where he was wounded a second time. Since the museum opened, Sweeney and his wife Karen have diligently researched, categorized, cross-referenced, and displayed the collection for visitors.
Michael L. Vice, the retired curator at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, described the collection as �extraordinary� and noted that the cataloguing and record keeping is what distinguishes it from others. He also observed that this collection should serve as a reminder about the presence of the Civil War in the west, something that it commonly forgotten.
Judy and Bob Huddleston
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612