A major new exhibit on Minnesota’s role in the Civil War began this summer at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. We decided to take a look with out friends Gary and Rosie. It was more than a decade ago now, when the multi-millionaire owners of the Twins and the Vikings were threatening to move their franchises unless public funds were provided to build them new stadiums, that our legislature chose instead to fund a new history center. I supported that decision not liking to be blackmailed into funding a private enterprise. Recently new stadiums were built first for our State University and then partially funding the Twins baseball park. The beautiful history center remains a point of State pride to me. Looking out from the upper floor of The History Center toward our State Capitol.It is an interactive museum with both permanent and changing exhibits. It hosts concerts, lectures, family days and other special events throughout the year. The building is also home to the Minnesota Historical Society library and archives, a research destination for schoolchildren, family historians and academics.
The intense divide between North and South in the 1850s—an explosive mixture of politics, beliefs, and economics—turned to war in 1861.From a brand new state flush with patriotism, Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the call to support the Union. Romantic notions of battle quickly fled, even as perseverance in the face of unforeseen carnage sparked an enduring legacy. In family and friendship circles at home and on the battlefield, people mourned, made sacrifices and weighed every possibility and outcome. Minnesotans’ lives were changed forever.
“I am sick of reading in the papers of “the glory” of war....Is there glory in the shrieks of men torn by bullet or shell? Is there glory in the cry of the mother as she sees her child’s head swept off by a cannonball? Is there glory in the weeping of widows and orphans? Is there glory in the burning cities and the desolated homes that War leaves behind him? Is there glory in the undying hatreds that war creates and nourishes?...Let these newspaper men come down here and see for themselves war in its terrible reality.”-William Christie, First Battery Minnesota Light Artillery, writing to to his father from Vicksburg, August 6, 1863.