Coker House (also known as “Greenwood”)
Edwards vicinity, Mississippi (Hinds County)
In 1985, noted Civil War historian Edwin Bearss wrote “the Coker house retains its integrity of site, fabric, and style.” When Bearss wrote this description, few would have imagined that two decades later the house would be partially in ruins.
Built in 1852 by H. B. Coker on land once known as Cotton Hill, the Coker House is the only original structure standing on land where the pivotal Battle of Champion Hill was fought on May 16, 1863. Located on the southern margin of the battlefield, this one-story Greek Revival-style house sustained fire from both Federal and Confederate artillery as the battle lines shifted throughout the day. Fierce fighting around the house led to its use as a field hospital by both armies. The cannon ball and bullets still lodged in the façade of the house serve as lasting reminders of the battle.
Cal-Maine Foods, which purchased the property in 1963, donated the house to the Jackson Civil War Roundtable in 1985. Unable to complete the restoration project, the Roundtable conveyed the title to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 2000. The inability to use available funds to stem the tide of deterioration caused by over 20 years of benign neglect has left this National Historic Landmark with the threat of complete destruction.
2015 Update – Saved
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History employed Jackson architect Robert Parker Adams to prepare plans for restoring the house. Using as much of the original materials of the house as could be saved, the restoration was completed in the summer of 2009. Visitors can tour the house for no charge. There are interpretive signs that have been installed detailing the history of the Coker House and telling the story of the Battle of Champion Hill. Several kiosks have been installed on the front lawn and the side of house showing the placement of guns and divisions during the battle.