The Cape Ann Museum remembers the Civil War

Dear Mother’ There is no news to write. We remain as before comparatively inactive, and while the Grand Army are advancing into Virginia, and we hear the noise of every battle and skirmish, have to bear the mortification of taking no part in the program.
‘excerpt from a letter written by Captain David Allen of Gloucester Company K, October 16, 1861.

Visit the Cape Ann Museum’s White-Ellery House on Saturday, October 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to learn more about Cape Ann during the Civil War. This program to honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is free and open to the public.

The Cape Ann Museum presents Civil War Sights & Sounds at its historic White-Ellery House(245 Washington Street, Gloucester). Throughout the day, the Cape Anne Ramblers, local musicians Jeannine Lynch, Charlotte Chane, Peter Phillips and Richard Chane, will perform several Stephen Foster and Civil War tunes in addition to their regular program of traditional music of the British Isles, American Folk, blues and sea chanties. At 12:00 p.m., local historian Mary Rhinelander McCarl will be discussing a selection of Winslow Homer’s prints which were made to chronicle the war for Harper’s Weekly. The prints will be on display throughout the day. Military reenactment enthusiast Henry McCarl will be dressed in Civil War era uniform and he’ll discuss Civil War units, uniforms and equipment at 1:00 p.m. An on-going slideshow will illuminate the many faces of Cape Ann soldiers who served in the various Gloucester companies. Facsimiles of letters of Captain David Allen, who lived around the corner from the White-Ellery House on Poplar Street, will be available for visitors to read. His letters take the reader from the start of his service in 1861 to his death in 1864, at the Battle of Wilderness. This is the last scheduled day that the White-Ellery House is open to the public in 2011. Do not miss this opportunity to visit the house and learn more about Cape Ann and the Civil War.

Later in the fall, in honor of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Cape Ann Museum presents Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer’s Civil War, an illustrated talk with Peter Wood, Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. For more information contact Jeanette Smith at 978-283-0455 ext 11 or email

The White-Ellery House is one of a handful of surviving First Period buildings in Massachusetts, which retains much of its original interior fabric. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites because of its design, materials, and workmanship, and its plank frame construction. The house was built in 1710 for the Reverend John White, Gloucester’s first settled minister, and exhibits an elegance and refinement commensurate with White’s esteemed position in the community. The second owner of the house was James Stevens, who kept it as a tavern until 1740, at which time it was sold to the Ellery family. In 1947, when plans were unveiled showing Route 128 traversing the Town Green, the house was taken by the City of Gloucester by eminent domain, turned over to the Cape Ann Historical Association, and moved safely out of the path of the highway. The present location of the White-Ellery House is at 245 Washington Street.

Funding for these programs was made possible through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.

The Cape Ann Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed during the month of February, on Mondays, and on major holidays. Admission is $8.00 adults, $6.00 Cape Ann residents, students, and seniors. Children under 12 and Museum members are free. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information please call: (978) 283-0455. Additional information can be found online at