Weeklong Commemoration of Minnesota's Role in the Battle of Gettysburg and Vicksburg July 1-4

For immediate release

Release dated: 
June 5, 2013
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Megan Lawson, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3141, megan.lawson@mnhs.org

Quick facts: 

Event: Anniversary of Gettysburg/Vicksburg
Date: July 1-4, 2013
Places: Minnesota History Center, James J. Hill House and Minnesota State Capitol
Cost: Varies
Phone: 651-259-3000, 800-657-3773
Website: www.mnhs.org/civilwar

Weeklong Commemoration of Minnesota's Role in the Battle of Gettysburg and Vicksburg July 1-4

Join the Minnesota Historical Society in a weeklong salute to the 150th anniversary of the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg and the role Minnesota soldiers played.

Gettysburg and Vicksburg Commemoration Program Schedule:

Monday, July 1

  • Minnesota History Center Special Hours, Monday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The week begins with special Monday hours at the Minnesota History Center, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Minnesota and the Civil War (Exhibit)
    Minnesota History Center, daily.
    Fee: I
    ncluded with admission of $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

    Visitors are encouraged to explore the new exhibit Minnesota and the Civil War on view through Sept. 8, 2013. Explore the role of Minnesota's men and women on the battlefield and the home front in an exhibit that draws heavily on Minnesota Historical Society collections. Through artifacts as well as firsthand accounts drawn from letters, diaries, memoirs and reminiscences, learn about the everyday lives and the often extraordinary witness of individual Minnesotans during the war.
  • Last Full Measure: Remembering the First Minnesota at Gettysburg (Lecture)
    Minnesota History Center, 7 p.m.
    Fee: $12/$10 for MHS members.

    Reservations are recommended, please call 651-259-3015 or register online.

    On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Minnesota History Center marks the service of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment with a special lecture by Richard Moe, public historian and author of "Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers."

    Moe will recall how these ordinary young men formed the first regiment offered to President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter. He will also discuss their role in virtually every major battle fought in the eastern theater during the first three years of the Civil War, including Gettysburg, helping to turn the tide of the war in favor of the Union.

Tuesday, July 2

  • 9 Nights of Music: Music of the Civil War and Tribute to the Fallen with Century Brass Band (Live Music)
    Minnesota History Center, 5:30 to 9 p.m.
    Fee: FREE

    9 Nights
    9 Nights of Music kicks off this year's free outdoor concert series, with Century Brass Band, who will perform music from the Civil War era as part of a special tribute to the fallen Minnesota soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg.

    Before the concert, guests can explore outdoor displays of Civil War artifacts, play popular games of the 1860s led by members of the St. Paul Soldier’s Aid Society, and learn dance steps courtesy of Tapestry Folkdance Center. After the concert at 8:30 p.m., join a fife and drum processional across Kellogg Boulevard to the Josias King Monument, a statue erected in honor of the First Minnesota, for a brief memorial ceremony.

    9 Nights of Music is held every Tuesday in July and August. The performances are free. Bring a lawn chair and pack a picnic or purchase food from the Café Minnesota terrace grill. In case of rain, performances head indoors.

    9 Nights of Music is presented by Xcel Energy. Additional support is provided by 99.5 Classical MPR and Tapestry Folkdance Center.

    For a complete lineup of 9 Nights of Music, visit www.mnhs.org/9nights.
  • Minnesota History Center FREE Admission, 5 to 8 p.m.
    Admission is always free Tuesdays, 5 to 8 p.m. Concertgoers are encouraged to explore the new exhibit Minnesota and the Civil War before the show.

Wednesday, July 3

  • Surviving the Civil War (Lecture)
    James J. Hill House, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
    Fee: $12/$10 MHS members.
    Reservations are recommended, please call 651-259-3015 or register online.

    Commemorate the battle of Gettysburg and take a closer look at the decisions, luck and leadership of soldiers who survived the Civil War. Enjoy a rousing welcome from the Manitou Regimental Brass Band and mingle with fashionably dressed members of the Living History Society of Minnesota. Attend brief lectures by John Lundstrom, author of "One Drop in a Sea of Blue;" Brian Pease, Minnesota State Capitol site manager, who will speak about General John B. Sanborn; and Al Zdon from the Minnesota American Legion, who will talk about William Colvill, captain of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Join informal tours of the Hill House and converse over picnic fare courtesy of NateDogs. A cash bar will be available.

Thursday, July 4

  • Gettysburg/Vicksburg Anniversary Family Day (Family Program)
    Minnesota History Center, N
    oon to 4 p.m.
    Fee: I
    ncluded with admission of $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

    Come out for a salute to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg. Celebrate July 4 with an afternoon of activities: meet General Ulysses S. Grant, dance to the music of the New Pearl Buttons, make a Union photo case to take home, muster with the First Minnesota, plus watch an 1860s fashion showcase and hear about the legacy of Gettysburg/Vicksburg with a talk by Society curator and Civil War historian Adam Scher. Also, enjoy an ice cream social. Bring your own picnic or purchase food at Café Minnesota’s terrace grill.
  • Capitol Civil War Tour (Tour)
    Minnesota State Capitol,
    11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
    $9 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; $2 discount for MHS members.
    Reservations are required, please call 651-296-2881 or register online.

    Discover Minnesota's role in the Civil War and commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg with a Capitol Civil War Tour. Explore Civil War artifacts, paintings and memorials, including recently conserved Civil War battle flags and statues of famous officers from the state. In each tour, a visitor will be dressed and outfitted as a new recruit with reproduction accoutrements typically worn by Union soldiers. A reproduction cavalry shell jacket worn by Gov. Knute Nelson as a young soldier will be on display. Nelson was one of six state governors who saw action in the Civil War.

    This tour is also offered on Sept. 28 and Nov. 30, 2013 at 11 a.m.

    The State Capitol is open this July 4 with special holiday hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hourly tours are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a complete listing of Civil War-related events visit our calendar of events.

Civil War Resources

The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to provide a wide array of resources for Civil War enthusiasts, members of the media and the general public. Visit www.mnhs.org/civilwar for the latest news and events. Plus, explore our collections of objects, books, letters, photographs and art; follow Minnesotans as they tweet about their experiences during the Civil War in real-time, 150 years later; read the Civil War Daybook; explore the latest Civil War articles posted in MNopedia and watch videos.

Vicksburg video

Videos include specially produced pieces about Minnesota's Civil War history as well as videotaped lectures and programs, such as the 2013 Civil War Symposium which featured a presentation on the Battle of Vicksburg by historian Terrence Winschel. Explore more videos.

A special collections page brings to your fingertips the rich selection of artifacts in the Society's Civil War-related collections.

View a Civil War timeline for a detailed history on Minnesota's role in the war and collection items relating to events.

And follow student bloggers as they travel to the Gettysburg battle site. Four finalists from the "Dear President Lincoln" student writing contest will accompany Minnesota's official Civil War Commemorative Task Force to the Pennsylvania Battlefield for 150th Anniversary Commemoration from July 1 - 3, 2013. Follow along as they blog about their experiences. (Blog goes live in late June.)

It has been 150 years since the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a disastrous time in Minnesota history. The war waged for six weeks in late summer of 1862, but the war’s causes began decades earlier and the profound loss and consequences of the war are still felt today. Explore more at www.usdakotawar.org

For more information visit http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/civilwarevents.

Brief History of Minnesota's Role in the Battle of Gettysburg and Vicksburg

In July 1863, Minnesota was still largely depopulated, with about half the state’s eligible male population fighting for the Union. Minnesota soldiers fought in nearly all of the War’s campaigns and major battles, especially in the Western Theater where most of its units served. But at Gettysburg, the First Minnesota's sacrifice became legend while other Minnesotans opened the Mississippi River by helping to capture Vicksburg.

("Battle of Gettysburg" oil painting by Rufus Fairchild Zogbaum, this painting hangs in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Minnesota State Capitol)

At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment helped hold the Union line against advancing Confederate soldiers on July 2, 1863.

"'Charge those lines!' commanded General Winfield S. Hancock. Every man realized in an instant what that order meant—death or wounds to us all," recounted Lieutenant William Lochren.

The First Minnesota fought the Confederates at close range near Cemetery Ridge. James A. Wright, an orderly sergeant in Company F, described the experience, "There was an incessant, discordant flight of shells—seemingly in and from all directions—howling, shrieking, striking, exploding, tearing, smashing, and destroying."

On July 3, the First Minnesota helped repel Pickett's Charge, which ended the battle and changed the course of the war. Both sides suffered terrible losses but the Confederates retreat back to southern soil ended Lee’s daring invasion of the North.

In May and June of 1863, Maj. General Ulysses S. Grant and his armies infiltrated Vicksburg, Mississippi with the help of Minnesota soldiers. On May 22, the 4th Minnesota Infantry Regiment sustained heavy losses in battle. Two weeks later, on June 8, the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Regiment returned to the front, joining the siege. And by July 4, the Confederates under John C. Pemberton, surrendered Vicksburg, securing the Mississippi River for the Union.

About the Minnesota Historical Society

This summer explore more than 500 museums statewide with the free Minnesota Museums app, brought to you by the Minnesota Association of Museums and the Minnesota Historical Society. Browse Minnesota museums by name, category or location; create an itinerary, check off museums you've visited and upload favorite museum photos; plus the app will also suggest museums based on geographic location. The Minnesota Museums app is made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

The Society’s calendar of events is posted online at www.mnhs.org/calendar. The website also has information about all of the Society’s programs, museums and historic sites.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, the Society preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.