Fading Memories: Echoes of the Civil War

May 1, 2015 through Feb 26, 2016

Civil War battles raged across America’s northern and southern states as Texas Confederates launched a plot: Head north and west through the New Mexico Territory with hopes of seizing California’s goldfields and sea ports. In 1862, battles erupted in Mesilla, Valverde, and Glorieta. Confederate forces briefly occupied the Palace of the Governors. Despite such victories, breaks in supply chains forced the Texans to retreat.

While the carnage of Shiloh, Manassas and Gettysburg roiled the nation, New Mexico’s role in the Civil War faded—like the photographs of soldiers and loved ones held for remembrance as a nation faltered and the dead were buried. What was left behind—cased-image portraits of wartime soldiers and their families; a tattered flag; post-war lithographs—failed to definitively answer our nation’s questions, leaving mysteries, unknown faces and untold stories.

In the museum’s intimate Mezzanine Gallery, three curators—Meredith Davidson, Daniel Kosharek and Tom Leech—come together, approaching the subject from different angles and inviting visitors to consider these fragments of memories and how a long-gone war still defines us as Americans.

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"The Civil War": 107th Colored Infantry

Cannon from "The Civil War"

Paul Barnes

Battle of Shiloh

The Fort Pillow Massacre

Civil War flag and sewing kit

Glorieta Battle flag

Cased images and a fatigue cap

Cased images and a fatigue cap

Cased images and a fatigue cap

Glorieta Battle flag

Mourning ribbon

Civil War-era cased image

Civil War-era cased image

Civil War-era cased image

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