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“Field of Carnage” and Personal Sorrows At Laurel Museum

Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the Laurel Museum displays a first person account of the battle. “Field of Carnage and Personal Sorrow” also features information on the Civil War and early war deaths in Laurel.

 
PRLog - Sep. 5, 2012 - “Field of Carnage” and Personal Sorrows At Laurel Museum

New Exhibits Commemorate Antietam and Emancipation Proclamation 150th with First Person Accounts and Civil War Map

“….I heard a thug (the noise a bullet makes when it strikes a person) and looking over my right shoulder saw one of my boys James D. Eaton falling shot through the head. I looked more calmly on the field of carnage then I could a few years ago to have seen a sheep killed - The finer feelings of man are stunted at such times and I felt when I saw our boys taking in prisoners that there was a quicker way to dispose of them.…
Quoted with permission from the collection of Nicholas P. Picerno

“I used to think I never knew what trouble was until this war broke out…”
Letter by Henrietta Stabler to Her mother, June, 1862. Letter courtesy Montpelier Mansion/MNCPPC, Helen Seymour Archival Collection Acc. #2003.001.01

George Nye fought in the Battle of Antietam 15 years before he came to Laurel, Maryland as Mill Superintendent.  September 17, 2012 marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle.  Beginning Sunday September 9 The Laurel Museum will be displaying a letter written by Nye October 1 shortly after the battle, to his wife, Charlotte (Charlie), his war belt and buckle, plus his 1879 diary, which references the battle.  Antietam was the bloodiest single day in American military history with more than 20,000 soldiers killed or wounded. The letter and belt are on loan from the collection of Nicholas P. Picerno, an expert in the Civil War units with which Nye fought.

Nye fought on the Union side in the battle of Antietam with the 10th Maine, which lost 20 men, and had 48 wounded there.  His experiences in the early morning hours of that battle were harrowing, and their memory remained with him throughout his life  In parts of the letter he references other deaths, and talks about having “bad dreams” and wishing his dreams a could be good dreams about his wife.  “…I think if I live to get home that my finer feelings will soon get back into their right channel again…” . In the letter readers will find echoes of modern soldiers’ post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Letter references emancipation

Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation September 22, 1862. Nye clearly has heard of this important event.  He notes “… I don’t believe Davis will ever emancipate the slaves – if he should issue such a proclamation his life would not be worth much in my opinion…”

Sorrows of War and Laurel Map

In addition to the Nye materials, the Laurel Museum is unveiling a Civil War display panel as a prelude to its larger Civil War exhibit opening in February 2012. A panel in the Mill workers house room will show of map of the town in 1862 with Civil War sites, including encampments and Laurel’s Civil War Hospital indicated.  The exhibit panel will also feature quotes from Henrietta Stabler Snowden, and Aunt Becky, the woman who was the Matron (head nurse) at the Laurel Hospital located at 377 Main Street. “Aunt Becky” cites the death of a soldier guarding the rails at Laurel. Snowden, whose husband Nicholas was killed in June, 1862, noted. “I used to think I never knew what trouble was until this war broke out…” The panel , a snapshot of Laurel in 1862, reveals that even as battles were raging at Antietam and other places, the town was beginning to experience the war’s impact.  The LHS also plans to install an historic marker on the site of the hospital, 377 Main Street in the Fall. The exhibit was researched, designed and curated by LHS members Marlene Frazier and Karen Lubieniecki with support from a grant from the Anacostia Heritage Trails Area.

The Nye materials and panel will be on display through December, 2012.  They will run concurrently with the Museum’s current exhibit, “True Life:  I am a Laurel Mill Worker” which is also on display through December.  Admission to the Laurel Museum is free.  The Laurel Museum is located at 817 Main Street, Laurel, Maryland.  Hours are Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00am-2:00pm, Sundays 1:00-4:00p.m. Admission is Free. Groups are welcome by appointment.. The John Calder Brennan Research Library is open on Mondays and by appointment.  For more information, call 301-725-7975, info@laurelhistoricalsociety.org or visit www.laurelhistoricalsociety.org.

Excerpt From George Nye Letter of October 1, 1862 to his wife Charlotte:
"…It is singular how any one will seem to charge their nature when in battle. When Captain Furbish was shot he stood just by the side of me  [He]he was shot in the head and fell like a log - he never spoke.  Not but a minute or two after, I heard a ball strike and looked around and his Lieut had his hand on his breast and was falling over.  but an instant or two later I heard a thug (the noise a bullet makes when it strikes a person) and looking over my right shoulder saw one of my boys James D. Eaton falling shot through the head.  I looked more calmly on the field of carnage then I could a few years ago to have seen a sheep killed - The finer feelings of man are stunted at such times and I felt when I saw our boys taking in prisoners that there was a quicker way to dispose of them.

I think if I live to get home that my finer feelings will soon get back into their right channel again.  I don’t believe Davis will ever emancipate the slaves – if he should issue such a proclamation his life would not be worth much in my opinion.
Quoted with permission from the collection of Nicholas P. Picerno

Photo:  Nye Belt:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/40178364@N06/7844507706/
Photo:  George Nye:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/40178364@N06/7840214178/in/p...

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Source:Laurel Historical Society
Phone:301-490-7434
Zip:20707
City/Town:Laurel - Maryland - United States
Industry:Tourism, Travel
Tags:George Nye, antietam, laurel, Civil War, Henrietta Snowden
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