While much attention has been paid to the 150th anniversary of horse racing in Saratoga Springs, this week also marks 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, the Spa City is home to a new exhibit that highlights the state and region's contribution to the historic battle.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- A self professed Civil War buff, Queensbury resident Amanda Carter managed to learn a few new things at the New York State Military Museum's latest exhibit.
"Matthew Brady, who was a photographer in the Civil War, photographed Abe Lincoln multiple times, he was born in Warren County and I did not know that," said Carter, who visited the museum Tuesday afternoon.
The new exhibit, which has been 10 years in the making, pays homage to New York's contribution to the four-year war and opens in conjunction with this week's 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
"It was such a defining event in our history, it really was a conflict that ultimately defined who we were as a nation, how we were going to survive politically and culturally," said Courtney Burns, the museum’s chief curator and acting director.
Unbeknownst to many New Yorkers, the Empire State sent more than 25,000 men to the battle, second most in the Union behind Pennsylvania.
"New Yorkers also suffered the largest amount of casualties,” Burns said. "I think there were over 50,000 casualties combined, North and South, and New York alone had 7,000 casualties."
"If you look at some of the cemeteries, you see a lot of veterans from the Civil War,” said Cohoes resident Jack Hoffman, who visited Tuesday with his wife, Joyce. “I didn't realize we had this many."
The exhibit, which will remain permanent, features hundreds of artifacts gathered over the years.
"Brooks Brothers, which I'm sure everybody knows as a suit company, made a lot of uniforms and Tiffany and Company made bullets and things like that, so that was really interesting," Carter said.
"We try to use those to tell stories beyond just the battlefield, make a human face to the artifacts," Burns said.
A century and a half later, the Civil War still conjures up images of the ultimate American sacrifice, a sacrifice that New Yorkers gave immeasurably to.
"The Civil War did innumerable things for us as a nation,” Carter said. “I think to know that our state and our area locally played such a big part in that is important for everybody to know."
For more information on the exhibit, visit the New York State Military Museum’s official website at dmna.ny.gov.