War is not something we think about yet it is part of our history. And the Civil War played a huge part in shaping our country. Corinth MS like many other towns was totally consumed during the war, playing a high price for its strategic location. The Civil War Interpretive Center explains why the town was so important during the war, effects to the population, and the outcome of actions involving the town and area.
The walkway to the Interpretive Center is littered with pieces of equipment, uniforms and personal items of both US and Confederate soldiers. The lawn is a recreation of the earthwork defenses of October 4, 1862. This alone is enough to give you a sense of what happened here on both sides. Entering the building takes on another dimension of the war.
Begin with the movie that tells the story of Corinth’s role in the war. In 1862, Corinth was an important railroad junction which both the north and south wanted to control. The movie also highlights the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth.
Another interesting fact, Corinth was a safe haven for slaves. These newly freed people came from nearby plantations or arrived after being liberated by Union soldiers. Because of this, Corinth had a large community of freed slaves. This community began as a tent city then developed into Corinth Contraband Camp with over 6,000 residents. The camp became a town within a town. It consisted of not only homes but also a church, school and hospital. The economy was agriculture based and the residents sold cotton and vegetables.
One of the more unique items in the park is the sculpture in the plaza behind the center. Titled “Stream of History”, the structure consists of blocks with water flowing around them. The blocks represent the various periods in the history of the US from beginning to the end of the Civil War. The stones are said to be the building blocks of the nation.
If you are a history buff, this center is a must see. It is crammed with history from every level – personal, military, economics and education. Make sure you allow enough time to take in all that is offered. As most museums and centers dealing with war, it is uncomfortable at times but you come away with a deeper understanding of our past and how we got to where we are today.