Inside Bennington Museum's collection

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This humble looking chunk of black iron was taken by from the desk of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Designed to resemble a hunk of coal, it would have been filled with explosives and secretly inserted into the coal bunker of a Union steamship. Upon being loaded in the engine, the device would trigger an explosion, destroying the ship. Transporting troops and supplies was critical to victory, so these coal torpedoes were especially insidious and destructive. This one was taken by Vermonter Edward H. Ripley when he commanded the city of Richmond, Virginia, after Union troops captured the Confederate capital.

While the Bennington Museum is closed, we invite you to explore our online database: found on our website under Collections/Research. And be sure to tune into our Tours at Tenon the Museum Facebook page Great programming about our collection, galleries, history, and so much more. We also welcome your ideas and suggestions. Send them to ideas@benningtonmuseum.orgLooking forward to seeing you soon. Stay well.



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