A Great Civil War: Battles That Defined a Nation, 1863 focuses on the human aspect of the civil war by telling the story of the soldiers who fought and died in a critical year of the Civil War. It is the third and final installment of the United States Army Heritage and Education Center’s exhibit that highlights the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.
A Great Civil War honors the soldiers of 1863 by exhibiting their historical materials and words. Typically, a soldier story includes the artifacts, documents, photographs, and words of that soldier. As a result, visitors come to understand what the Soldier heard, saw and experienced; what they thought of Army life, their comrades, their enemies, and their families back home. This exhibit is unique in that it focuses on the individual, rather than grand military strategy and tactics.
The detailed experiences of fourteen soldiers and thirty military and civilian people are told through their original artifacts, documents, and images. Historically outfitted mannequins and interactive display elements help visitors perceive the War through the soldier’s eyes and words.
Visitors and veterans alike can connect to the unique stories and artifacts of individuals to the experience of war in 1863 and to the post-war years beyond. Visitors are also able to take away a printed brochure that chronicles the lives of the soldiers featured in the exhibit, providing an opportunity for continued study of these soldiers and theaters of war in which they fought. By making the experiences of the war a personal experience for the visitor, A Great Civil War hopes to inspire and educate military personnel, veterans, and the nation about the soldiers and battles of a pivotal year in American history.