The Mattatuck Museum Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

    The Mattatuck Museum will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in a new exhibit “Waterbury in the Civil War: Letters from the Front.”  The Civil War exhibit will open Saturday, April 30, 2011 in the Community Gallery at The Mattatuck Museum, with a reception from 5:30-7:30pm. In addition, period songs will be performed by Civil War reenactors in remembrance of this time.

   One hundred and fifty years ago, Union soldiers Andrew McClintock, Henry B. Peck, Alexander McNeil and William Renison sent letters home describing their personal experiences on the battlefield. They were among the 942 Waterbury men to fight in the American Civil War. Their words express a ready willingness to do their “duty as a good citizen and soldier.” In Commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, this exhibition will include original letters to and from soldiers on the front lines, diaries, documents, photographs and artifacts, including Civil War era stationary, Confederate currency, and the uniform, canteen and pocket mirror of Captain Henry B. Peck.

   Upon hearing of Lincoln’s call to arms at a City Guard Meeting, McClintock, a machinist at the American Cap & Flask Company, delivered an emotion-charged, patriotic speech that resulted in the city’s offer of services to the nation. He was among the first of the city’s young men to enlist for an anticipated duty of ninety days. While in service, he wrote many letters home to his sister Jane that describe camp life, health and sickness, run-away slaves, battle preparations and his longing for home.

   Alexander McNeil’s story of fighting at Gettysburg is also highlighted, as is Captain Peck’s deliberations on the development of the soldier’s character and his fight against the temptations of drinking, smoking, and card-playing. The exhibit will also include Jane Renison’s letters to her husband at the front. William Renison, who was taken prisoner-of-war in June 1863, served as a musician for his regiment.

   Admission to the opening reception of “Waterbury in the Civil War: Letters from the Front”  is free for museum members and $7 for non-members. Join the museum to immediately qualify for the member discount. Please register in advance by calling (203) 753-0381 ext. 10. 

   For more information on all of the museum’s programs, events, and exhibits visit the website at or call us at (203) 753-0381. The Mattatuck Museum Arts & History Center is operated with support from the Connecticut Commission on Cultural & Tourism, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, fifteen world-class museums and historic sites ( Located at 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.  Convenient, free parking is located behind the museum on Park Place.