SARATOGA SPRINGS — The history of the New York National Guard’s 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery Regiment is the subject of a new temporary exhibit at the New York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs.
The exhibit employs photographs, uniform items, and artifacts donated by a member of the unit in World War II to tell the story of the 258th Field Artillery from 1784 to the 21st Century.
The battalion traces its history back to an artillery company organized in New York City in 1784 under the command of Capt. Jacob Sebring. In 1789 the company escorted General George Washington when he arrived in New York City for his inauguration as the nation’s first president.
Since then the unit has been known as the “Washington Grey’s” and the Washington family coat of arms is incorporated in the unit’s regimental crest.
That independent company was combined with other artillery companies to form a regiment of New York State Artillery in 1809.
Since then the Soldiers of the 258th Field Artillery have served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The exhibit also showcases the service of World War II PFC Charles Brown, an Olean resident who served in the 258th Field Artillery during World War II. Brown recently donated items from his service, including records of the 258th’s World War II missions to the museum.
Brown’s items in the exhibition include a small statuette given to him by a young girl in Heerlen, Holland, in early November 1944, a captured German canteen, and a knife damaged by German shrapnel in August 1944 near Le Teilluel, France.
Objects from the Museum’s collection are also included in the exhibition including a Model 1899 dress coat worn during the unit’s designation as the 8th Regiment, an enlisted man’s distinctive dress coatee from the 1950s, and several headgear including a pre-Civil War dragoon helmet featuring George Washington’s image on the plate.
The museum’s collection of over 25,000 artifacts tell the story of New Yorkers at war from the Revolutionary War to today.