1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content

Treasures of the Civil War

 

Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation

During the Civil War, the fate of the nation rested with a few political, military and cultural leaders who had one thing in common: They achieved national fame by helping to chart a future course through a nation’s greatest crisis. As part of 150th anniversary commemorations, the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center and Museum offers the new exhibit Treasures of the Civil War: Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation. Most of the nearly one hundred artifacts, from outstanding Civil War collections throughout the United States, are being exhibited at Gettysburg for the first time, offering a unique and rare glimpse into the personal and professional lives of 13 individuals who helped shape a nation: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, George G. Meade, John Reynolds, George Pickett, Alexander Webb, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Custer, John Mosby, Frederick Douglass and Clara Barton.

Admission to this special exhibit is included with the purchase of Cyclorama, Film and Museum Experience and museum-only tickets. Learn what else there is to experience in the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War.

Some Special Pieces

A face cast of President Abraham Lincoln.
Artist Leonard Wells Volk captured Lincoln’s likeness by making a plaster cast of his face, since Lincoln said he did not have the time to sit for a traditional 19th- century sculpture. On loan from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia


Union General George G. Meade’s frock coat and slouch hat he wore at Gettysburg.
The uniform frock coat features two major general’s shoulder straps. As Meade was leading his troops at Fredericksburg, two bullets pierced this wool felt hat but did not injure him. On loan from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia


A spur owned by Confederate General George Pickett.
Described as striking and distinguished, Pickett typically wore an immaculate uniform, featuring spurs like this. Gettysburg National Military Park, National Park Service


Union General Ulysses Grant’s Vicksburg victory sword.
Given to Grant by the men of the Army of Tennessee for his victory at Vicksburg in July 1863, this gold and silver sword and scabbard is ornately detailed. The image of Athena, the Goddess of War, graces the silver grip, the base of which has “1776” engraved on one side and “1863” on the other. On loan from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia


A kepi worn by Union General John Reynolds at Gettysburg.
Reynolds was wearing this Chasseur-style wool and leather kepi when he lost his life at Gettysburg. Many officers in both armies – from Reynolds to Stonewall Jackson – preferred the lighter kepi to the slouch hat. Gettysburg National Military Park, National Park Service


A photo of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his horse Traveller and locks of Lee’s hair and Traveller’s mane.
Taken during the siege of Petersburg, this is the only known wartime photograph of Robert E. Lee, on his favorite horse, Traveller. The locks of Lee’s hair and Traveller’s mane are circa late 1860s. On loan from Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, National Park Service

Human-rights activist Frederick Douglass’ first autobiography.
Douglass wrote The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave in 1844 to prove to skeptics that the powerful orator indeed had been a slave. The book became a bestseller. On loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park thank the Texas Civil War Museum for making Treasures of the Civil War: Legendary Leaders Who Shaped a War and a Nation possible through their generous gift and the following for generously supporting the exhibit with pieces on loan from their outstanding collections.

The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia Collection
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Collection
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, National Park Service
Clara Barton National Historic Site, National Park Service
The Craig Bashein Collection
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, National Park Service
Gettysburg National Military Park, National Park Service
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
U.S. General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service