Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were unabashedly full of historical geek-out for me. And almost all of it was spur of the moment and last minute discoveries.
First, I found out on Wednesday night that the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was going to be displayed in Syracuse, for one day only, on Thursday. The 150th anniversary of the Proclamation’s issuance was September 22nd, and the document is on a tour of New York State as part of the First Step to Freedom exhibit.
Now, why was this so particularly special, besides the whole anniversary thing?
Well, this draft copy is the only surviving copy of the document, written in Abraham Lincoln’s own hand. The official final draft of the document was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This preliminary draft was donated by Lincoln to the U.S. Sanitary Commission in 1864, and it was auctioned off as part of a fundraiser to raise money for the war effort. The draft was purchased by abolitionist Gerrit Smith for $1000 and then later donated to the New York State Museum.
The last time the Proclamation made “the rounds” was over 50 years ago. This was a prime opportunity. On a Thursday night. So the hubs and I ate a lighting fast dinner and hied ourselves southward to downtown Syracuse.
And stood in line for about 3 hours in what could possibly be the worst organized historical event ever. It was so anti-climatic, and by the time it was my turn to see the document, I felt guilty spending more than a few seconds taking pictures of the four pages. Which is a shame, because it could have been so cool. I mean, page 3, they think, has Lincoln’s fingerprint on it!
But it was the chance of a lifetime, so at the end of the day I was glad I went.
Then on Friday, I discovered the music video for the song “Some Nights” by Fun.
Watch it. It freaking features the Civil War! Brings a whole new meaning to the lyrics.
And lastly, it was Civil War weekend at Fort Ontario, and Saturday was a beautiful day to catch a reenactment.
I even got a chance to chat it up with some of the reenactors. One (the guy with the long hair sitting on the ground by the cannon) tried to recruit me.
Oh, don’t tempt me!