CIVIL WAR HISTORICAL ITEMS AND OTHER
13-09-48 ... Silk New York Artillery Civil War Battle Carried Flag... 28" x 29" flag matted in a 38" x 40" frame. One of the great rarities in Civil War collecting are the silk flags, markers, guidons, and colors that were actually flown in battle. This is the actual marker flag of The 2nd NY State Volunteer Artillery which served as infantry in the 2nd Corps during Grant’s 1864 overland campaign against Lee. This is the real deal ... The original silk flank marker of the New York Second Heavy Artillery presented by the City of New York as part of a stand of colors when the regiment reenlisted as veterans. Boldly painted in crimson-shadowed gilt letters: “N.Y.S.V.V. ARTILLERY” for the New York State Veteran Volunteer Artillery, with the regimental number “2d” on red in a central cartouche with gilt rococo border with flourishes. Narrow blue sleeve for rod-mounting on a staff as is correct, gold edge fringe intact. The matching companion marker, (two were included as part of the presentation stand of colors), is in the New York State Military Museum. These flank markers were carried by sergeants acting as the “right and left general guides” when the regiment formed in line of battle. See Howard Madaus’s multi-part series, “Camp Colors, General Guide Flags and Flank Markers in the United States Army, 1861-1865” - Journal of the Company of Military Historians - part 3, pages 156-157. This example is among the most visual of all surviving markers as it is painted with full unit I.D. instead of just a simple numeral. It is professionally conserved with just some minor silk loss and loosening of the gold fringe border at the bottom right, mounted with some blue silk in the background and red at the center where the missing lower portion of the “2” and part of the period and the “d” have been professionally in painted. This was done wonderfully well. See the close-up photos I have provided. The losses are minor and this is a splendid looking flag worthy of the best collection. The Second NYHA was a hard-fought unit. Stationed in the forts around Washington and Alexandria early in the war, it was then called into the field in the Spring of 1864 to serve as infantry and assigned to “Tyler’s Artillery Division” of the 2nd Corps, which was actually just a brigade, but was of division strength due to the full rosters of the heavily manned artillery regiments brought into its folds. It was quickly thrown into some of the worst fighting of the war. At Spotsylvania the regiment lost 117 men; at the North Anna, 95; at Cold Harbor, 215; at the assault on Petersburg and the Weldon Railroad, more than 350, and the list goes on… Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Reams Station, the siege and fall of Petersburg, the Appomattox Campaign. In battle deaths alone the regiment the regiment lost 10 officers and 206 men, and more than 600 who were wounded and recovered. Their total of killed, wounded and missing was a staggering 1,140, the vast majority in the last bloody year of the war. Of some note is that a horrible fake version of this flag constructed of coarse material, came on the market several months ago through a major auction house. It was cataloged and sold as real, despite looking completely bogus in the on-line photos. The counterfeit flag was subsequently returned by the buyer and resold, this time being properly described as being from a “later period”. Whether that flag was made for reenactors or meant to deceive, I cannot say. I can say, however, that the one here offered is absolutely genuine and original and is one of the original pair of markers presented by the City of NY when the regiment “veteranized,”. The “veteran” designation coming after a sufficient number of men reenlisted to keep the regiment in service and retain its designation (late 1863 to early 1864). A top notch flag, very displayable size, great color and visual appeal, and from a real fighting regiment. They don’t get much better and I’m sure the new owner will enjoy looking at it on his wall as much as I have… One of my favorite pieces ... $24,500.00
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13-09-35 - 34 Star Flag ... Measuring approximately 62" x 65" ... This is a Very Rare and Very Important Southern Sympathizer Union Flag … likely a Vallandingham Democratic Party Copperhead Flag!
Very striking 34-star US flag with wonderful color and complex star pattern- a mix of wreath and spiral pattern with one large central five pointed star and thirty-three others circling and floating around it. Vertical canton extending seven stripes down. The white sixth stripe bearing the inscription in red: “The Union as our Fathers m[ade it]” the very right portion of the motto and fly-end of the flag missing, but neatly bordered to preserve it. Minor staining to the white stripes here and there, some small runs along the top and bottom of the third stripe near the fly with minor loss on the bottom edge of the first, all near the fly end. Fabric solid and very displayable.
Northern opponents of Lincoln and government war policy had a big problem: how to oppose it and yet appear loyal. Clement Vallandingham, Democratic Congressman from Ohio became the leader of the faction, termed by opponents “Copperheads,” and was known for his support of states rights and secession, opposition to abolition and equal rights, and votes against every military appropriations bill that came before him. Vallandingham thought he had found a solution to the dilemma of how to proceed in public by blaming abolition for the crisis and claiming to be loyal to the original intent of the Constitution and Union. A good example of Vallandingham’s public tactics was his New York speech of Dec. 12, 1862, reported the next day in the Times, which incorporated the very motto on this flag:
“If the Constitution be destroyed the Union perishes with it. [Cries of "Good," "good," and applause.] I mean the Union as it was -- [applause] -- the Union as our fathers made it -- [applause] -- the Union of Washington -- of Madison -- of John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, [applause,] which gave us peace, prosperity, happiness, grandeur, glory and greatness, such as never belonged to another people since creation's dawn. [Applause.] The Union, which now is proclaimed to "the Union as it ought to be" -the man who attempts such a Union -- a Union different from what descended to us, and all those blessings which our fathers gave us -- the man who attempts such a Union, by whatsoever name he may be called, is a traitor. ["Bravo," and cheers.] Not for any such Union, it is the unity of despotism, not the unity of fraternal affection, or of independent and sovereign States which legislated for themselves. It would be a Union without freedom of the Press, without freedom of speech, without freedom from arrest, without freedom from search -- unwarrantable, unreasonable and unconstitutional -- without any of the guarantors which a free people have ever demanded; such is the Union which the Abolitionists of this land would set up for the American people, and which they proclaim is the Union as it ought to be. [Applause.] Not such as our fathers made -- not such as in 1787 they established and consolidated for the protection and defense of the liberty of the white race of the United States. [Applause.] That Union I am ready to defend.”
Earlier the motto was used by Virginia before she seceded. In February 1861 The Weston (Virginia) Herald editorialized the following in regards to whether Virginia should secede… “…she (Virginia) will unquestionably take her position with the seceding States. That such a dread alternative may be avoided is the ardent wish and prayer of every patriot in the land. We love and venerate the Union of these States—the Union as our fathers made it—the Union with the Constitution—a Union that guarantees equal rights to all the States—a Union whose compromises and whose Constitution will be faithfully and fully carried out by all the parties. “…
Needless to say, the motto “The Union as our Fathers Made It” is unequivocally a pro slavery, pro states rights, sentiment. Vallandingham’s adoption of it in his speech are telling but his efforts did not exactly succeed. He was later arrested for a "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" in violation of an order issued in the Military Department of Ohio and eventually expelled to Confederate lines, from where he made his way to Canada and eventually back into the U.S. to run an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Ohio and take part in McClellan’s 1864 run for the Presidency.
Pro-Union and Pro-Lincoln flags are absolutely common by comparison to those of his northern opponents. There were fewer made to begin with and not many were preserved afterward. Nobody wanted to be reminded they were on the losing side and after the war very few would acknowledge opposition to the martyred President. Whether the last few inches of the fly end of this flag are missing from wear or were intentionally removed to conceal its origin or by a political opponent I can’t say, but it is a striking Stars and Stripes even with that damage and it is a very rare piece of Civil War political history. ... $16,500.00 SOLD
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12-09-17 - Wonderful Mexican War US Navy Officer’s Group including his sword, daguerreotype, and portrait with the very sword! Fresh from the family! This super group also has his hat band, portraits of his ship and even a handbill for its launching, all preserved and documented by his son and passed down to his great-grandson.
Burritt Shepard was a member of an old and well connected family. I was fortunate to have a colleague contact me when he found this archive in a Virginia antique shop. We bought it instantly. Shepard enlisted in the navy and became a Midshipman 1 Feb. 1826; made Passed Midshipman 28 April 1832; and Lieutenant 8 March 1837; he resigned 22 June 1849. During his service he was on board the USS Lexington in the Mediterranean as a Midshipman and his journal from 1827-30 is preserved in Rutgers University library. In the early 1840s he was assigned to the newly launched USS Raritan and acted as Executive Officer during that ship’s participation in the blockade and landings on the Mexican coast during the war. He resigned in 1849 and raised a family. His grandson retained these mementos of his service and passed them on to the great grandson about 1920.
The object of greatest interest will be Shepard’s model 1841 US Navy Officer’s Sword. Regarded by many as the most beautiful of US regulation swords, this example has loads of original gilt on the hilt, still has its scabbard in very good condition, and bears a dead-real commemorative inscription on the inboard folding guard reading:
Lieutenant Burritt Shepard
Midshipman, 1826 Lieutenant, 1837
In Mexican War
When found there was a break and slight loss in the scabbard just above the drag. I had this professionally restored using a two inch section of identical original scabbard material. The repair is virtually undetectable.
Also present in this lot is a wonderful large portrait of Shepard in uniform holding this very sword!
Sword: The eagle head pommel, backstrap, and knucklebow retains loads of the original gilding, as do the acorn shaped quillons and the outboard fold down guard with the leaf and acorn design. The bone grip shows a bit of age shrinkage from the backstap and a longitudinal crack on either side near the bottom edge, but is solid. The half-blued blade is flat backed (these were produced both quill back and flat back) with much of the original blue which shows off the beautiful gilt floral designs: blade is etched with fouled anchor, circle of stars oak leaves and acorns. The blue has shaded into a charcoal tone where the maker’s name is dry etched at the ricasso: On the other side the blue is vivid, with some brown spots showing through.
The scabbard is excellent with the repair mentioned above. Lots of gilt remaining on the mounts: the upper mount with decorated stud as well as carrying ring, floral decorations and a circle of stars, fouled anchor on the middle mount with carrying ring, and drag bears leaves and acorns.
The sword is clearly shown in the uniformed portrait of Shepard. The large portrait is a delicate pastel work showing Shepard standing ¾ length, knees up, with this very sword clearly shown. The frame measures 31” x 28”. Typical 1840 hair style and big flowing necktie. Posed in his short blue cutaway double-breasted jacket with brass buttons on the front and horizontally across the cuff, with correct single epaulet of a Lieutenant, all proper for the undress uniform of 1841. He has white gloves, one off and held at his side while the other hand is gloved and resting on the pommel of this sword. The oak frame on this appears to date circa 1890. There is a very cool eagle on globe fixed to the top center of the frame. This looks dynamite displayed with the sword! Present is a fine sixth plate daguerreotype of Shepard that seems to have been taken about the same time as the original photo on which the portrait was based. The hairstyle looks the same and he wears the same outlandish bowtie. His coat seems also to be an undress jacket, though the end of the necktie flares out so that it not possible to see if he is wearing the epaulet. The Shepard family also preserved for us the 1841 regulation bullion band from his undress hat with a very nice, clear, period brown ink note pinned to it reading: “Cap–band belonging to Burritt Shepard – U.S.N. 1826 to 1849.”
Two images of the USS Raritan were also kept with the group. The first is a copy photo made by a Somerville, NJ, photographer of a lithograph made soon after the launching of the ship, showing it under sail and giving its date of launch, tonnage, armament, etc. This was inscribed by Burritt Shepard’s son when he passed the material to his grandson: “Presented by Robert Fitch Shepard to his grandson Robert Fitch Shepard Whitely, whose great grandfather, Lieutenant Burritt Shepard, U.S. Navy, was Executive office of the Raritan in the War with Mexico.”
Another copy of the same image was also framed together with a Victorian photographic copy of an earlier handbill advertising an excursion aboard the steamboat Trenton to witness the launch of the Frigate Raritan the next day. It gives times of departure, etc., and notes that they will take up a “favorable position near the Navy Yard, to afford to those on board a full view of the Launch.”
The USS Raritan was launched until 1843, one of the last sailing frigates of the US Navy. In 1844-45 the ship was in the South Atlantic, and then made part of the Home Squadron. Based in Florida, the ship helped blockade the Mexican coast and participate in landings at Point Isabel, Veracruz, Tuxpan, and Tabasco. The ship then returned to the Norfolk Navy Yard and was laid up briefly. After Shepard’s departure the ship was in the West Indies and eventually the Pacific. Having returned to Norfolk and being again laid up, the ship was destroyed at the beginning of the Civil War when Union forces had to evacuate Norfolk in 1861.
This is an outstanding American family archive, to have it is to be part of American history. I am proud to offer it, and you would be proud to have it on the wall…. $8,900.00
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#068 - Presentation Engraved War Date 1860 Staff Officer’s Sword Presented to Surgeon: - This is the 1860 staff officers sword which is virtually impossible to find made pre 1865, a true rarity in military collectibles. This sword is etched with the US coat of arms, military trophies, and floral designs. The knuckle-bow has floral scrolls and thunderbolts, and the guard has an eagle and arms on one side, with the opposite hinged clam shell guard bearing a beautiful engraved inscription which reads “ Dr. Carr/from/Capt. Craig”. This sword is missing the small ball, which helps keep the counter-guard either open or closed, but other than that is complete. I had helper Tom install a cosmetic “ball” for display purposes. The condition is “very good” The brass mounted steel scabbard is likewise “VG” showing just the right amount of age. The patina on the brass is rich, deep, undisturbed, and beautiful... the way you wish all your antique brass looked. As for our good Dr. and his friend Capt. Craig, I have found a handful of surgeons named Carr and a few Union Army captains named Craig. None of the possibles served in the same unit, so we will surmise that their relationship was professional with the gifted sword possibly for medical services rendered. I will leave the research project of determining which Dr. Carr and which Capt. Craig have the “doctor - patient” relationship. I am certain the relationship can be discovered but am equally certain that it will take a lot of hours of detective work to find it, hours that I do not have to spare at this end. ...An extremely scarce sword with a compelling and tantalizing inscription begging for research... a very fair deal at $1995.00
#120 - Presentation 38th Pennsylvania Officer’s Sword – SHOT IN THE LEG (by himself): Ames Foot Officer’s Sword w/ great presentation - Engraved on the top mount “Presented to / Lieut J. Wills / by / Stephen Mercer / Andrew N Kennedy / and others / June 1861”. This is John Wills 38th PVI. The sword itself is in very good condition save for a few nicks in the blade. The scabbard has lots of weak spots and bends, but is not broken through. The grip is VG+ with the original twisted wire wrap. The brass guard has a slight bend in it near the quillon. The blade is signed with the scroll style Ames marking, and the scabbard is marked on the throat “AMES MFG. CO. CHICOPEE MASS”. The brass mounts have a smooth light patina and are in VG shape, the drag is slightly dented, but nothing too serious. Mills served from May 1861 through August 1862. During the period the 38th PVI saw battle at Dranesville, VA, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, and Glendale. He accidently shot himself in the leg in the fall of ’61. An interesting Civil War presentation sword that is very affordable. $2,450.00
#175 - Exquisitely Engraved Presentation Foot Officer’s Sword – One of the prettiest and lengthy inscriptions I have seen. On the throat mount, “David T Johnson / of / Ansonia Conn / Captain Co. F. 23rd Regt.” and on the middle mount … “US Service / Nov. 14 1862 to Aug. 31 1863” This sword has a superb, nearly new 30 1/2 inch blade, a Very Good guard, with a small bend, original wire, and good leather. The scabbard has the engraved presentation on the two brass ring mounts and we have repaired the leather about 3 inches from the drag where the leather had separated. There are pleasing flourishes and adornments with the engraving that really set this apart from most other presentation work we see. Captain Johnson and his men in Company F under command of Major Miller were held in New York until December 30th 1862, when they embarked on the ship “Planter” for the south. It was wrecked January 14, 1863, on Stranger’s Key, Bahama Islands. After obtaining assistance from Nassau, this detachment finally arrived at New Orleans March 4th 1863. They saw action at La Fourche Crossing, Brashear City, and Bayou Boeuf, La. taking numerous battle casualties. Their service in the defenses of New Orleans was noble and effective and this is a truly wonderful and attractive Civil War combat officer’s sword. You will be well pleased at $3,250.00 Sale Pending
#200 – Presentation 100th New York Infantry Smith & Wesson No. 1 Revolver: –