1860 - 1865 Mary Lord's Civil War Quilt


“This quilt was made in Nashville Tenn. I began just before the Civil War, the day Tenn. seceded I stitched the U.S. Flag in the center of the quilt, my father being a loyal man he had to leave home or be forced in the Confederate service, I carried the quilt through the rebel lines to the federal to Cincinnati we remained in Cincinnati until the fall of Fort Donelson then we returned home to Nashville. After the battle of Stone River Gen’l Rosecrans suggested I make an autograph quilt of it & at his headquaters [sic] his was the first name placed in the flag and the second was James A. Garfield and most of his Staff Officers names were placed around the flag. Gen’l Winfield Scott in 1863 at West Point wrote his name. I was visiting my Brother who was a Cadet at the Point. `Then Abraham Lincoln 1863 his son Robert Lincoln in 1881. P.H. Sheridan U.S. Grant Brig Gen’l L. Thomas Adjt Gen’l U.S.A. Maj Gen’l George H. Thomas Benj F Butler Chester A. Arthur. S. H. Wilson. Gen H. W. Blair W. T. Sherman J. St. Clair Morton. Jas McLear Horace Maynard. Col Bowman Supt West Point 1863. Jas S Negley. A McDowell McCook J.A. Garfield Chief of Staff. Jas McKibben. Col Arthur Ducat. C. G. Harker. W.WS. Averill Wm McKinley. Nelson N Miles. Leland Stanford. Theodore Roosevelt. Sen Jos R. Hawley. This quilt was saluted by 20000 troops at the funeral of Pres Lincoln. Hung over the East door of the rotunda when Pres Garfield’s body lay in State, has been hung out at different Inaugurations. It has the line of Gen’ls & Lt Gen’ls. It has other names but these are the most prominent. The different ones that have had charge of it when on exhibition have not been very careful with it. I have never thought of disposing of it, but having lost my home through fire, I wish to rebuld [sic] & this is the only way I can see to raise money. Mary A. Lord.”

Mary Hughes Lord’s undated description of her own quilt.

Among the “prominent” signatures on Mary’s quilt is that of James Morton, who gave her the album in which she kept her photograph as well as those of family and friends, and many of Civil War soldiers. James was killed at the battle of Petersburg, Virginia, on June 17, 1864, but Mary saved his letters and official service documents.

Mary Hughes was born in Nashville in 1848. She was seventeen years old in May 1865 when she married Henry Edward Lord, who had served in Tennessee with the Indiana Volunteers (1861-1864). They lived in his home in Brooklyn, New York, and later in the Washington, D.C., area. Mary died in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1926. Her quilt was never sold, but instead passed to her daughter, who brought it to the Museum in 1943.

Date Made: 1860-1865

Maker: Lord, Mary Alice Hughes

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Quilting

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Textiles, Government, Politics, and Reform, Quilts, Textiles


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Rose H. and William Craige Lord

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TE.T08900Accession Number: 166550Catalog Number: T08900

Object Name: quilt

Physical Description: fabric, silk (overall material)thread, silk, cotton (overall material)filling, cotton (overall material)pieced; embroidered; inscribed (overall production method/technique)Measurements: overall: 72 in x 83 in; 183 cm x 210 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-c4ed-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_556346

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