2009-05-01 / News

SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum ad unique artifacts

The SC Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum recently added two unique artifacts to exhibits in the museum's main gallery - the combat uniform of Representative James E. Smith Jr. and a jar created by "Dave the Potter."

Representative Smith served in Afghanistan from 2001- 2008 with the 218th Infantry Brigade, SC Army National Guard. Rep. Smith's first assignment was as a Captain with Team Swamp Fox, working with the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), and other coalition forces.

Team Swamp Fox served as Embedded Tactical Trainers for the ANP, training and mentoring the ANP to defeat attacks from the Taliban and Al Qaeda. His second assignment was as Team Chief of Police Mentor Team Viper. Smith had served as a JAG officer in the SC Army National Guard for eight years.

In 2007 he asked to transfer over and lead a platoon. In order to do this he had to resign and start over, enlisting as a private. While serving in Afghanistan, Rep. Doug Jennings cast Smith's proxy votes. The House passed a rule change to allow Smith to do this. Smith also communicated with fellow legislators via satellite phone.

His digital camouflage combat uniform includes his SC House of Representatives Member pin, Combat Infantry Badge, and patches for the Third Group Special Forces and 218th Infantry. Smith has been one of many generous donors to the museum's award winning Write from the Front program that collects and preserves emails, digital photos, and artifacts from the current war on terror.

Dave Drake, aka "Dave the Potter" (1800 c. 1873) was the enslaved artisan who made the food storage jar (alkaline glaze) now on display. Dave was working at the Lewis Miles Pottery in the Edgefield District when he made this jar. He signed and dated it near the handle "LM January 17 - 1850." Dave's initial owner, Harry Drake, taught Dave to read and write, which was unusual because enslaved workers were rarely taught how to do so. Dave's writings on his distinctive jars enabled him to leave behind a unique historical record. This jar, along with a preserve jar made by an unknown enslaved artisan, will be on display through March 2010. The jars are on loan from the collection of McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is the oldest museum in the Columbia area. The museum focuses on South Carolina's military history from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terror.

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