Posts tagged civil war
Posts tagged civil war
The other day, I was paid a visit by an internet friend (and fellow furry museum mascot), Bull Moose on the Loose! Theodore Moosevelt, as he is known, traveled all the way from Buffalo, from the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, where he works. He was actually in Kinderhook visiting our friends at the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (MVBNHS), and took the chance to swing over and say hello. This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign for President, Theodore Moosevelt is travelling the country, visiting National Parks. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran for the Progressive Party, also known as the “Bull Moose” party- that’s why they hired a moose as a mascot!
You can check out Bull Moose’s blog about his visit to CCHS, and I thought I would share some photos from our visit too:
Since Theodore Roosevelt was a young lad during the Civil War, and then, as an adult, served in the military, I thought I would show Bull Moose our Civil War Exhibitions. We started at the Columbia County Museum, in the exhibition Civil War Panorama: Columbia County 1860-1865.
We checked out the soldier’s guard room, and tried our hand at 1860’s card games:
We looked at the “Wide Awakes” transparency- the Wide Awakes were a political party that supported Abraham Lincoln (just like the Bull Moose Party supported Theodore Roosevelt), and the lantern was carried in a parade, with a lantern inside:
We also took a look at the 34 star flag from the Steamboat Oregon. The flag was sewn by Sarah and Clara Clark, the daughters of the steamboat owner William H. Clark. It might have flown on the Oregon on the night that it took soldiers from the 128th regiment down the Hudson River to New York City, on their way to the Civil War. The US flag only had 34 stars for a very brief time. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was the only President who served under the 34 star flag. I gave Bull Moose a quick test: how many stars were on the US Flag when Theodore Roosevelt was President?
Answer: 45, until 1908, then a 46th was added (for Oklahoma) at the end of his Presidency!
Bull Moose was interested in learning what life was like during the Civil War, so we headed next door to the Vanderpoel House of History, to see the exhibition Home and Away, Columbia County During the Civil War.
First, we tried out life as Civil War soldiers, and had some coffee, out of a tin muckett, in a tent:
I took Bull Moose’s daguerrotype. He was not so happy about how long you had to sit still to have a daguerrotype taken… by the time Theodore Roosevelt was President, photography had gotten a lot better, and the process was much quicker:
We also checked out the uniform and equipment a Civil War soldier would have had to carry and wear:
Then, we learned about life on the home front. It looks a lot nicer- not hot wool uniform, better food, more comfortable chairs- but it wasn’t easy too. Most people knew a relative or friend who was serving in the war, and they would have been worried about them, and whether or not they were safe. Letters and the newspaper would have helped them keep in touch, but news didn’t travel nearly as fast as it does today!
Before Theodore Moosevelt hit the road, we posed for a couple more photos on the front stairs of the Vanderpoel House. Here we are with Ann, a fantastic volunteer both at CCHS and MVBNHS, who coordinated our visit:
And here we are with educators from the two sites- Ashley from CCHS, and Dawn from MVBNHS:
I really enjoyed finally getting to meet Bull Moose on the Loose! Thank you to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site for sending him on such a cool journey, and for his hosts at the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site for bringing him over to visit while he was in town!
After meeting the reenactors, blacksmiths, and musicians at the Civil War Days Living History Encampment, I decided to try out the historic games.
In one game, called hoop and stick, you use a stick to keep a big hoop (like a hula hoop, but made of wood) rolling. Sadly, I am too short for this game.
They also had the game of graces, where you use a pair of sticks to launch a small hoop through the air, and your partner tries to catch it with their own pair of sticks. As you can see by the photo, I was looking for a partner!
Some of the children reenactors were playing a game of baseball, which became popular in military camps during the Civil War.
Want to play?
Here I am at the Civil War Days Living History Encampment with my friend Bill Payne. Bill joined us for the encampment for several reasons: he is a reenactor (as part of the US Naval Landing Party), an author (he wrote the historical fiction bookA Veteran in a New Field,which is a fun fictional story, set just after the Civil War, with lots of real historical details), and a musician (as part of the group Veterans in a New Field).
The Veterans in a New Field were one of two musical groups who performed Civil War era music during the encampment (the other was the 77th Regimental Balladeers). Both groups play music that is fun to listen to, but they also know a lot about the history of the music!
After the official performance by the Veterans in a New Field, one of their members shared with me an old song about groundhogs— I was excited until he started singing— it was about eating groundhogs for dinner! Yikes!
In addition to the reenactors, there were two blacksmiths demonstrating their craft during the Civil War Days Living History Encampment. Here I was with Jacob Kuhnen, watching how he worked a piece of metal. Blacksmiths were very important during the Civil War, both for soldiers and on the homefront. They would make items out of iron, like things for cooking, hinges, nails, tools— just about anything made of metal that a person would need in 1860! They also made horseshoes for horses, and often the blacksmith would be the person who would fit a horse with new shoes.
Blacksmiths work over hot coals, to heat up the metal they are working with and make it soft. Then they use hammers and files to shape it they way the want. It is hard, hot work!
I learned about the importance of letter writing from a civilian reenactor. Since there were no telephones during the Civil War, writing letters was the main way soldiers and their families kept in touch. I bet a soldier is going to be very happy to get the letter she is writing!
Here I am with some reenactors who portray General Ulysses S. Grant and Mrs. Julia Dent Grant— Civil War celebrities!
In these photos from the Civil War Days Living History Encampment at the Luykas Van Alen House, I was learning a little about cooking in camp from the Civil War reenactors. In the one photo, you can see a tasty rabbit being cooked over the fire (I’m just glad groundhog wasn’t on the menu that day!). Fresh meat was not always available to the soldiers, but well appreciated when it was!
In the second photo, the girls in the civilian camp taught me how to make some tasty pastries filled with home-made jelly. Yum!
The 125th New York Voluntary Infantry Regimental Association (one of the groups of reenactors who participated in our event) brought along their baggage wagon, so I decided to take it for a spin! A wagon like this would have been used to move supplies while soldiers were on the move.
In this photo, you can see the reenactors from the Civil War Days Living History Encapment taking part in a drill. During the Civil War, soldiers would have been put through drills like this, to make sure they were able to march, follow orders, and fire their guns correctly.
Ok, I’ve been promising some photos of the Civil War Days Living History Encampment, held at the the Luykas Van Alen House on June 30th & July 1st— so let’s get started!
In this photo, I was relaxing with some of the reenactors in camp, in between drills.
I guess I should start by explaining what an encampment is! At an encampment, people in historic clothing try to re-create life in the past. Often, encampments are based on military life— at our’s we tried to show what life was like in the 1860’s, during the Civil War.
The people in historic dress are called reenactors. Some of them play a specific character from history— for example, General Ulysees S. Grant. Other reenactors give the impression of a type of person— for example, a private in the Union Army during the Civil War. The reenactors that came to our encampment were great— very friendly, they liked to answer questions, and the definitely all love history!
An encampment like the one we held is a little different than a reenactment (which is another type of event reenactors sometimes do). At a reenactment, reenactors re-create (wow, that’s a lot of “re’s”!) specific events in history— for example, a battle. There are many reasons that the reenactors and the CCHS educators decided not to do a reenactment. For one, there weren’t any battles during the Civil War that took place anywhere near the Luykas Van Alen House! Instead, an encampment seemed like a better way to help people (and groundhogs) learn more about life during the Civil War!
More photos to come!