Monday, September 14, 2015

Union Soldiers Dressed In Gray?

One program that I am very proud of that no other battlefield park has is the Union Soldiers Dressed in Gray. This program deals with the forgotten aspects of the New York State National Guard during the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1863. This is truly unique to our area of Franklin County and could be demonstrated in Cumberland, Franklin Counties in Pennsylvania and in Carroll, Baltimore, Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland. - John Miller

Union Soldiers Dressed In Gray?
4th – 8th Grades (Running Time: 30 minutes)
By John A. Miller

During the Pennsylvania Campaign, New York sent thousands of its National Guard for the defense of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Many were dressed in gray or blue uniforms. The students will obtain a better understanding of what life was like for the New York soldier by interacting with a Civil War Living Historian. The Civil War Living Historian will show students many items using museum quality reproductions consisting of uniforms, accouterments and personal items.

1. Using reproduction items, students will be able to learn what soldiers from the Civil War era would have worn, carried, and used on a daily basis.

Materials Used:
1.      For the living historian, he would display some of the examples of the New York State National Guard uniform. He would also display one set of accouterments showing the students what the average Civil War New York S.N.G. soldier would have carried into combat as well as on the march. The living historian would be required to leave any black power at home.
2.      An unloaded musket could be shown to the students to discuss weapon policies and basic training of the Civil War soldier such as “Manual of Arms”.
3.      A haversack containing food rations of the average Civil War soldier can be shown and passed around for the students to hold.
4.      The knapsack which is where extra items were stored can be unpacked for students to see blankets, personal items such as tooth brushes, razor for shaving, comb and other little things such as playing cards and different games. The knapsack also is where some of the cooking utensils were located at such as a tin plate, dipper (cup) and frying pan. Explain the difference between hardpack and softpack.

1.      The Civil War Living Historian would bring period correct items as part of his display, and display those items in such a way to make them visible to the students.
2.      The Living Historian will give a basic overview of the New York State National Guard soldiers, camps, and actions that occurred in Pennsylvania, encouraging student participation.
3.      The Living Historian will explain all items, unpacking contents for the students to see.
4.      The Living Historian will go through the accouterments and then explain the uniform.
Topics to Highlight:

  1. Introduction
    1. What is a Civil War Living Historian and what does he do?
  1. Military Encampments
    1. Go over a brief history of the New York State National Guard. Ask students how do they think these men were viewed in Pennsylvania?
  1. Camp Life
    1. Describe the camps
  1. Explain the Common Civil War Soldier
    1. Introduction
                                                              i.      Explain the differences between a Northern Soldier and a Southern Soldier and how the New York soldier fits into the story.
                                                            ii.      Ask students what they think the New York State National Guard carried into battle.
    1. The Musket
                                                              i.      Examine the (dummy) cartridges and caps used during the Civil War
                                                            ii.      Explain about loading in nine-steps
                                                          iii.      Firing Demonstration showing the loading procedures
    1. Knapsack
                                                              i.      Explain the knapsack and why soldiers carried these
                                                            ii.      Open the knapsack and begin to showcase the contents
    1. Haversack and Canteen
                                                              i.      Ask the students what they think soldiers ate during the Civil War. 
                                                            ii.      Discuss types of food soldiers typically ate, including hardtack, salt pork, beans, coffee, etc.
                                                          iii.      Discuss cooking ingredients and procedures
    1. The Accouterments
                                                              i.      The cartridge box, cap pouch, belt and buckle
                                                            ii.      Explain what each of the items was used for
    1. The Uniform
                                                              i.      Explain the differences of uniforms in the New York State National Guard

  1. Make sure that students are given an opportunity to ask any further questions they may have after the presentation

Closure: Ask the students what they think of a soldier’s life and could they have done what soldiers needed to do?  Do you think it was easy or hard?

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