National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

James N.

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Part I
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The so-called National Civil War Museum sits high atop Reservoir Hill overlooking downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; despite its name it is a local enterprise having no connection with any Federal or even State agencies. It currently is a repository of a remarkable and altogether wonderful collection of exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the war from the perspective of both sides in the conflict, evidenced by the sculpture of South Carolina Confederate Sergeant Richard Kirkland succoring a wounded Federal soldier at Marye's Heights in the December, 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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There are many life-size dioramas and tableaus like this one above depicting the raising of what is purported to be the authentic cased First National flag below after the surrender of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

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Large galleries display original Confederate (above) and Union (below) infantry, cavalry, artillery, and even naval uniforms, weapons, and equipment as well as mannikins in reproduction garb.

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A closer look at some of the artifacts displayed; unfortunately some of the signage had been scrambled adding to confusion regarding a few items. Unfortunately information and provenance was lacking in the all-too-brief descriptions of many of the artifacts like the ultra-rare Federal sack coat below.

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A couple of exotic Union and Confederate trimmed jackets were highlights of the exhibits.

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In several locations throughout the galleries the noted late historian James "Bud" Robertson described pivotal phases of the war on monitors; above, he briefly summarizes Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's celebrated 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

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Larger items like George B. McClellan's saddle above or a trunk belonging to Ulysses S. Grant below are in their own particular display cubicles.

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ucvrelics

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I love that place as they have some great displays and artifacts. Thanks for taking us along.
 

James N.

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East Texas
Part II
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My personal favorite items displayed in the museum would have to be those acquired in questionable dealings with a descendant of Confederate General George Pickett like his regulation kepi seen here, dark blue decorated with the four strands of gold braid indicating a general officer. (The controversy surrounding the acquisition of these artifacts has been the subject of previous threads here in the forums.) Other items belonging to Pickett are scattered throughout the exhibits and include a uniform sleeve removed when he was wounded on the Peninsula, drawings by him when he was a cadet, and various commissions and other documents.

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The saber at bottom in the case above was supposedly one belonging to Confederate cavalryman J. E. B. Stuart; the Bowie knife below is another fine example of an unusual and non-regulation weapon carried by Southern volunteers early in the war.

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An outstanding assortment of military drums and other musical instruments occupies this large wall case.

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A disturbingly realistic tableau depicting the amputation of a wounded soldier's infected foot introduces a very fine medical exhibit!

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As expected in displays such as this there is a nice selection of various field-sized pocket and larger medical kits.

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Various sizes of medicine bottles and canteens are joined by various medical instruments and implements including a crude bedpan at left.

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Medical impedimenta like crutches are contrasted with another of my favorite "items", according to the descriptive label what is supposed to be the ONLY surviving example below of an authentic Civil War ambulance! When one considers that in addition to their intended use these vehicles were the conveyance of choice by most high-ranking officers and many other non-medical personnel (and likely civilians as well when they could get them) it's probably little wonder that no others have survived!

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Lincoln56

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Jul 24, 2016
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Texas
authentic Civil War ambulance
This is wonderful. I've read countless descriptions of the absolute torment of the wounded being transported in these spring less wagons; General Hancock riding in one on his way to Gettysburg to study maps, etc... as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Reinforcing others remarks, THANK YOU and EVERYONE ELSE that take and post pictures from the various historical sites y'all travel to. Especially valued as probably the only way I'll be able to experience many of these locations.
 
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