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Special Exhibit Of 150th Anniversary Of Sinking Of Civil War Maple Leaf in Jacksonville, Florida
Rare Artifacts From Civil War Steamship Sunk By A Conferederate Mine Will Be Displayed Free To The Public At The Mandarin Museum From April 4 - December 28
The exhibit, which is free to the public, will display some of the 3,000 recovered artifacts, on loan by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.
At 4 a.m. on April 1, a steamship leased to the Union army hit one of 12 mines placed at a narrow point of the St. Johns River, just south of Jacksonville. The ship, carrying supplies from three Union army regiments, was headed back to Jacksonville after dropping off men, horses and supplies in Palatka, Florida.
In 1989, local dentist and historian Keith Holland found the wreckage of the Maple Leaf, and conducted an underwater expedition that recovered approximately 3,000 artifacts.
The recovery expedition took several years and provided a cache of personal belongings of Union solders; U.S. Army issued equipment; and items taken from plantations from South Carolina. Even though thousands of artifacts were recovered, this represented only a small part of the ship’s cargo that still remains at the bottom of the river. Silt and mud buildup over the wreckage helped preserve items, even newspapers, in pristine condition that will be saved for future generations to see.
The former Chief Historian of the National Park Service stated that the Maple Leaf “is the most important repository of Civil War artifacts ever found and probably will remain so.” The site is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
April 4th and 5th will be the grand opening of the new Maple Leaf exhibit and Dr. Holland will be present over these two days to give a first hand account of his experience with searching, finding and diving to recover artifacts.
For more information and museum hours, visit Mandarinmuseum.net.
150th Anniversary Of Maple Leaf Sinking
11964 Mandarin Road
Exhibit Dates: April 4 – December 28
Friday, April 4, noon – 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 5, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Les Loggins Marketing