FBI to return stolen 19th century rifle to MDAH

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

On Friday at 10 a.m., the Federal Bureau of Investigation will return a 19th century Mississippi rifle during an event at the Two Mississippi Museums, Mezzanine level, 222 North Street in downtown Jackson.

The 1847 rifle was initially donated to MDAH in 1903 by the daughter of Charles H. Gibbs of Raymond. Gibbs carried the weapon while serving as an infantryman in the Mexican-American War. Both his name and dates of the battles where he fought are inscribed on the rifle. The rifle was later used by another soldier in the Civil War.

The .54 Eli Whitney rifle was stolen during the 1970s while on loan at Beauvoir in Biloxi. A decade-long FBI investigation into stolen historical artifacts lead the FBI to the recent recovery of the rifle taken from Beauvoir a half-century ago, according to a WLOX broadcast. “The gun used in the Mexican-American War was recovered from a home in Delaware. Numerous other artifacts stolen from museums across the country were also found in the home,” WLOX reported in March. See the broadcast here.

Email newsletter signup

Nan Prince, director of collections at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, will accept custody of the rifle. The returned rifle will be placed in a display covering Mississippi’s involvement in the Mexican-American War, alongside a cartridge case also carried by Gibbs, at the Museum of Mississippi History.

Call 601-576-6934 or email, swarnock@mdah.ms.gov for more information about the event.