Bridgewater College exhibition focuses on ‘Faces of Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley’

The men and women whose lives were forever altered by the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley are the focus of an exhibition to open at Bridgewater College on April 17.

“Faces of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley” will be in the J.I. Baugher Special Collections Room of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will be open from 5-7 p.m. on April 17, and from 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until July 2.

Featured items in the exhibition include the medical saddlebags of Elder John Kline, a Confederate shell jacket from Company H of the 10th Virginia cavalry, an 1864 Federal musket box and sling, the frock coat of an officer with Company B of the Second Michigan Cavalry, a 10-pound Federal artillery shell found at the Cross Keys battlefield, and facsimiles of original Civil War correspondence between Confederate soldier Jesse Rolston Jr. of the 52nd Virginia Infantry and his wife, Mary Catharine Rolston, both of Augusta County.

“The exhibition features letters and artifacts from Bridgewater College’s special collections and other local collections, reminding us what these men and women confronted,” said Andrew Pearson, director of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. “We invite the public to visit the exhibition, take time to read each panel, meet the featured individuals and consider, in a greater sense, the personal choices that confront us and that we all must make in our own times.”

Stephanie Gardner, special collections librarian at Bridgewater and curator for the exhibition, noted that the artifacts and archives contained are inspiring and poignant.

“This marks the first time these collections have been on display together,” Gardner said. “The exhibition is an opportunity to explore the material culture of the Civil War in relation to our shared humanity.”

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,700 undergraduate students.


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