Nash Farm Battlefield Civil War Museum to close; volunteers blam - CBS46 News

Nash Farm Battlefield Civil War Museum to close; volunteers blame commissioner

Posted: Updated:

The volunteers who run a Henry County Civil War museum said it will close for good on June 1.

The museum is usually only open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays but CBS46 was able to go inside Wednesday and found most of the artifacts have already been taken out.

Mostly empty rooms are all that's left of the Nash Farm Battlefield museum. The Board of the Friends of Nash Farm, volunteers who run the museum, said in a Facebook post that the abrupt closing is the county's fault. They claim Henry County Commissioner Dee Clemmons asked them to remove all confederate flags from inside. Instead they said the museum is packing up and closing.

"I feel very badly about it closing, said Chuck Johnson, a Civil War buff. "It's a battlefield here. We need to honor men on both sides, black and white, north and south."

Johnson heard about the closing at a Civil War reenactment over the weekend. But Henry County Commissioners Spokesperson Melissa Robinson said there's a lot of misinformation going around.

"The county has not asked them to take down anything or to leave the museum.," she explained. "That was something they did voluntarily."

The volunteers claim they had no choice but to leave and CBS46 has learned what started all of this. In March, Commissioner Clemmons asked that the second official confederate flag, flying high next to the current state of Georgia flag and the United States flag, be taken down. Commissioner Clemmons sent reporter Ashley Thompson the email with her request.

Dear Colleagues there has been an overwhelming request from my constituents to remove the Confederate Flag at  the County owned Nash Farm Park. I was surprised that we have this flag in our county inventory flying high for Almost 8 years. When I investigated further with Tim Coley I was relieved that the flag did not belong to Henry County and that the owner would graciously place it in their personal dwelling.  If any of you would like the flag placed back up speak now. If you get concerns from citizens refer them to me. After thorough research I can testify that this flag has no historical reason for being displayed on County property as it has no relevance to the undocumented battlefield. Secondly I would not want our County open to possible lawsuits for hate crimes or discrimination. Patrick advise if we need a vote since the owner has already removed their flag.

It's a move that sat well with some Henry County residents.

"I don't like it being on public properly," said  Lisa Mclen. "We all know what it really stands for."

Then, Friends of Nash Farm say that less than two weeks ago, Clemmons supposedly asked for the removal of confederate flags from inside the museum. They said that was the final straw. A donor, frustrated, pulled out all of his artifacts, which were on loan to the museum, forcing them to close. Some don't get what the big deal is.

"It's a heritage thin, I understand that," said Henry County resident Victor Wilson. "It has its place and that's one of the places they decided for it to be."

CBS46 has a number of calls and e-mails into Commissioner Clemmons to get her side of the story. Besides forwarding us the email from March, she hasn't responded. Though she did respond on Facebook, saying in part "I will not apologize for asking that the Confederate Flag be removed from a county owned park."

We continue ask whether Clemmons did indeed ask for the removal of flags from inside of the museum as well. A county spokesperson, Robinson, had no knowledge of that.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Connect with CBS46