In March of 2001 Ralph Schoolcraft donated his beautiful Steinway Square Box Grand Piano to the Drum Barracks Garrison & Society. Based on its serial number, 19,135, the piano was built in 1869. Seven feet long with polished rosewood finish, this style of piano was quite popular in the 1860s and 1870s. Mr. Schoolcraft did minimal restoration on the exterior which was in good condition. However, restoring the internal mechanisms took over three years of careful, detailed effort.
Today, visitors are welcomed to play the instrument and many special events include performances by pianists, singers and groups of musicians in the Parlor.
The Gatling gun was designed and patented in 1861 by Dr. Richard Gatling, who intended to make the war so terrible it would end quickly. But the gun was used very little in the Civil War.
This is a .45 caliber long Gatling gun of 1875. It used a four man crew, has ten barrels and could shoot up to 350 rounds per minute, controlled by the speed of the gunner turning the crank. The clip held approximately 30 rounds. Originally on an 1883 brass naval ship mount, today it sits on a reproduction Army carriage.
The Army gun and Naval mount were originally purchased by the Wilmington Cemetery Association and mounted in the Wilmington Cemetery in 1924. While in the cemetery, someone tried to load and fire the gun; a .32 caliber bullet became lodged the wrong way in one of the barrels. Vandals cut the gun from its cement foundation and it disappeared in 1962…until seven years later, when it was found dismantled, in a San Pedro dump! It was turned over to the police, who contacted the Society for the Preservation of Drum Barracks and the Wilmington Cemetery and it was identified as the missing gun by the .32 bullet still stuck in one of the barrels. It was kept in the basement of the Banning House, restored in the 1970s, and donated to the Society for Preservation of Drum Barracks. It has been on display since the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum opened in 1987.
This 34-star flag was handmade during the Civil War and was found on the battlefield at Vicksburg, Mississippi by Private William G. Stephens. Stephens, who served with the Chicago Mercantile Battery, Illinois Light Artillery, carried it throughout the remainder of the war. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous service at Vicksburg. His descendants settled in Long Beach and donated several items including this flag and his Medal of Honor to the Museum.
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