Museum offers up total Civil War picture

— He said the exhibit will be an arcing, chronological framework and will go through each year of the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, and present a synopsis of that year, focusing on the battles, New York’s contributions for that year and topical subjects.

Burns said some of the topical subjects will be very interesting, including the Zouaves, a French Army unit originally from North Africa but relocated to New York, and particularly known for their stylish uniforms.

But a uniform Burns feels will draw even more attention is the POW coat given to a New York soldier. At the time of his capture, he was stripped of his clothes and given on old Confederate coat that he had to wear for six months.

Burns said the new exhibit was something the museum had always planned to do, and this just happens to coincide with the Civil War anniversary.

“This display is important because of the significant contributions of New York soldiers,” said Burns. “The Civil War is really a watershed moment in our history. It defines our modern culture in a lot of ways and New York was kind of in the forefront of that.”

The museum is seeing a new outpouring of interest from the public, officials said, as evidenced by a crowd of 100 (a museum record) in attendance at a Saturday, Jan. 26, lecture on Benedict Arnold given by Larry Arnold (no relation), a local Revolutionary War historian and retired Saratoga Battlefield seasonal ranger.

The proximity of the museum to the Saratoga Battlefield makes the momentous battle a natureal point of interest. Arnold’s talk focused on the early heroics of Benedict Arnold, whom Arnold described as a brilliant tactician, citing his capture of Fort Ticonderoga and the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1775.

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