Walking through the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, one passes numerous original artifacts from the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. Each of these historical treasures represents a unique story, continuing to inform us why the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg events and history are important and relevant to us today.

As one pauses next to a museum case, an inscribed relic of the past tells the personal story of one participant of 1863 and the horrific events that came to our town and county that year. This particular artifact, a pocket watch, belonged to Adams County resident Basil Biggs, an African-American laborer who became a witness to the Battle of Gettysburg.

Wayne E. Motts is president and chief executive officer of the Gettysburg Foundation.

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