The Civil War

The Dorman House

Built in 1852, the Dorman House, one block west of the town square, was the first two-story brick home built in Clinton. During the Civil War, Clinton was often occupied by Union troops. A skirmish (known as the Battle of Clinton) occurred when Confederate soldiers sneaked into town to harass Union soldiers guarding a supply depot across the street from the Dorman House. The owner, Judge Jerubial Dorman, served as Captain of the Home Guard.  Most Clinton residents were Southern sympathizers with relatives fighting for the Confederacy. When trouble was brewing, men left town and hid in the Grand River bottoms to the south. When the coast was clear, a bed sheet was hung from the second-story window of the Dorman House to let them know it was safe to come back home.

The Dorman House is open for tours by appointment. It is also available for event rental. Call the Henry County Museum, 660-885-8414. The Dorman House, 302 W. Franklin, is in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Military Room

For Civil War researchers, the Military Room contains a set of “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, The War of the Rebellion.” In 127 volumes, it has copies of reports and correspondence of both sides, organized by battle or campaign, with a general index and atlas.

Civil War artifacts include a battle drum and a cavalry officer’s saber, scabbard and spurs. A photograph enlarged from a tintype shows Charles H. Haysler, who was a teenager when he enlisted in the cavalry, his saber touching the ground. A photo of a small boy on the deck of a sailing ship identifies him as a powder monkey aboard the U.S.S. New Hampshire. A presidential pardon issued by President Andrew Johnson granted amnesty to Rufus H. Massey of North Carolina. Discharge papers for a Capt. Consalus, along with his photo, are also on display.

Artifacts include two lengths of braided hair, one black and one brown. Perhaps they were momentos of loved ones back home, like the locks of hair the March sisters send to their father, a Union Army chaplain, in Louisa May Alcott’s classic story, “Little Women.” Memorabilia of the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, the fraternal organization for Union veterans and the Union of Confederate Veterans is on display. The Military Room, on the second floor of the Anheuser-Busch Building, is accessible by a staircase with a stair seat lift.

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