By Cecelia Mason
West Virginia Public Broadcasting | AP
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- The Baltimore B&O Railroad Museum's main feature is an historic roundhouse where visitors can see old train engines, cars and cabooses. An exhibit called The War Came by Train commemorates the Civil War's sesquicentennial and currently includes artifacts and displays from West Virginia.
The War Came by Train is a five-year long exhibit that changes each year to highlight events that took place 150 years previously.
Dan Toomey, guest curator, said part of the exhibit is in the roundhouse with some of the railcars as a backdrop to highlight eight real people who lived during the war. The people are represented by mannequins.
"You have this German immigrant who worked for the railroad and lived a few blocks away, Toomey said. "As we pass through, you'll see an escaped slave from West Virginia who went to work for the railroad brigade, we'll see a Union soldier, we'll see a Confederate officer, we'll see a lady who was taking a trip from the Shenandoah Valley to New York via Martinsburg, we'll see a locomotive engineer and we'll see Gen. B.F. Kelly from West Virginia."
One mannequin is dressed as Capt. Thomas Sharp; whose photo appears on a plaque explaining how, under the command of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Sharp was charged with moving stolen train cars from the Martinsburg to Strasburg, Va., beginning in 1861.
"Over a period of about six or eight months, he moved 14 locomotives and 83 railcars belonging to the B&O Railroad up the Shenandoah Valley via the Valley Turnpike because there weren't any railroads, and then reassembled them," Toomey said, "and then they were used for the Confederacy throughout the war."
In addition to the exhibit in the roundhouse, an adjacent gallery features some West Virginia history and artifacts. Toomey said one display case is dedicated to the state's participation in the war and its soldiers.