The Richmond Register

September 29, 2008

Battle of Richmond Visitors Center to celebrate opening

Bill Robinson

TERRILL — The Battle of Richmond Visitors Center will celebrate its grand opening Saturday and Sunday.

Located in the historic Rogers House at the US 25/421 split, the center will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The event will offer the public its first glimpse of personal items owned by a general who commanded troops in the Aug. 29-30, 1862, battle and other new exhibits.

Exhibits include a 12-minute video shot during the annual battle re-enactment and a topographical map that depicts the terrain and roads from Big Hill to beyond Richmond.

An audio recording describes the battle’s main stages as laser lights on the map trace troop formations and movements during the battle.

The sword and pistol of Gen. Malon Manson, the Union’s second in command during the battle, will be displayed, along with his field manual, china, crystal and writing table.

He was in command of the Union troops in all but the last stages of the battle.

Several of Manson’s descendants, including Laura Manson of Florida and Sally Manson Francis of Virginia, who donated the general’s personal effects and papers, are expected to attend the opening, said Phillip Seyfrit, Madison County’s historic properties director.

Manson’s papers have been entrusted to the Berea College Library’s special collections for use by scholars.

Many other artifacts on display are on loan from the Blue Grass Army Depot, including bullets, cannon balls, grape shot and shrapnel recovered from the depot grounds over the years.

Other displays include:

• Portraits of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, each draped in their respective national flags

• A Civil War era field surgeon’s operating table and instruments, including a saw to facilitate amputations

• Reproductions of flags flown by Union and Confederate units

• Furnishings typical of a Kentucky farm house of the period.

The Rogers House was standing during the battle. Afterwards, the house and grounds were filled with wounded soldiers from both armies.

After the depot was established during World War II, the house served for many years as the depot commander’s home.

Its transfer from the federal government to the county was arranged by U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-KY.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 623-1669, Ext. 267.