The Rock Island Arsenal is located on an island in the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. It is now the largest government-owned weapons manufacturer in the United States, and it’s history predates the Civil War. The museum is the second oldest US Army museum still operating. 31 pieces of ordnance are on display at Memorial Field, many of which were made at the arsenal. During the Civil War Federal soldiers were trained and Confederate prisoners were incarcerated on the facility. 1,964 of the 12,192 Confederates imprisoned there died, and are interred there. Click here for a more in-depth history of the facility and it’s museum.
In an effort to save money Federal Museums are in the process of consolidating their conservation and restoration operations, and has began pulling away artifacts from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. E.g., they already transferred one of the five guns in their collection that was used at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Jim Leinicke coordinated a visit to the museum for the lads of the 114th Illinois and the 2nd Wisconsin so we could see the collection before it got any smaller. Below are some photos from the visit.