NC history museum commemorates Gettysburg's 150th
Posted July 4, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina Museum of History this weekend is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's largest and bloodiest fight with the screening of a 1993 depiction of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg.
About 50,000 soldiers died or were injured from July 1 to July 3, 1863, on the Pennsylvania battlefield where the Union Army ended the Confederate Army's advance into the North.
"It was a game changer, said Chris Meekins, an archivist at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. "From that point, the Confederacy never regained its footing to invade the North again."
Of the approximately 165,000 soldiers who fought, 14,147 were from North Carolina. Nearly 6,000 from the Tar Heel state died.
"You can just imagine how much pain and how they felt so far from home," said Paige Myers, a textile conservator with the Museum of History.
As part of its Civil War collection, the North Carolina history museum also houses several artifacts from North Carolina's role in the battle – artifacts that include uniforms and letters, such as one found clutched in the hand of 34-year-old Lt. Col. Isaac Avery, of Burke County.
Avery, of the 6th North Carolina State Troops, had been shot in the neck on the last day of the battle and was dying on the ground, unable to speak.
"He reached in his breast pocket, pulled out a pencil and piece of paper and penned a note," Meekins said. "It said, 'Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy.'"
Sunday's screening of the four-hour film begins at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. with a question-and-answer session with a battlefield guide from Gettysburg National Military Park.