Must Visit Galleries and Our Upcoming Lessons in History Lecture 

Memory & Meaning:

One of the highlights of a visit to The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Memory & Meaning Gallery is learning the story of Ephraim Slaughter. Ephraim was born into slavery and named Ephraim Newsome on January 17, 1846, in Ahoskie, North Carolina. Ephraim and his brother escaped from the Newsome plantation on December 26, 1863 (he was 17), following in the footsteps of his older brother Issac, who escaped from slavery in 1862. All three men joined the United States Army to fight for the Union and to end slavery. In fact, Ephraim joined the United States Colored Troops on his 18th birthday on January 17, 1864.

Ephraim Newsome

Ephraim’s unit, Company B, 37th USCT, was attached to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 18th Corps, Army of the James, under the command of General Benjamin Butler. He saw action on September 28th and 29th at the Battle of New Market Heights and was wounded in the hand, leg, and eye. He eventually recovered and served out his three-year term of service in the army.

After the war, he settled in Harrisburg, PA, and worked at a hotel, and eventually purchased several homes and land in the city. Bringing this story full circle, his grandson, through marriage, now serves on the National Civil War Museum Board of Directors. You can learn more about Ephraim and the USCT by visiting The National Civil War Museum. Please purchase tickets here 

Ephraim Newsome Model at the National Civil War Museum

Pursuit of Freedom: The Abolition of Slavery:

Our exhibition, Pursuit of Freedom: The Abolition of Slavery, has been extended for another year. In this gallery you will learn about the people who fought for the liberation and freedom of African Americans before and during the Civil War. Visiting the gallery, you will learn about the life and times of abolitionists Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and other leaders of the abolitionist cause. You will also see some of the amazing artifacts in our collection that help tell the story of abolition.

Another individual who played a key role in the abolitionist movement was Thaddeus Stevens. As a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania during the Civil War, he fought vigorously to end slavery and for equality for all people. You can learn more about his life and work on March 21 at 7pm when we host a Civil War Book Talk via Zoom with Dr. Bruce Levine who will discuss his book Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice. Reservations are required, and you can make them here.

Pursuit of Free: The Abolition of Slavery Exhibit

Discover more about the rich history of the Civil War and explore our museum’s exhibits further by visiting our home page here.