Reference Items
Identified Items
Presentation Sword - Captain Noah H. Ferry, 5th Michigan Cavalry

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This magnificent high grade presentation sword is inscribed on the scabbard between the throat and upper mount "Presented to Capt. Noah H. Ferry Co. F 5th Regt. Michigan Cavalry” and between the upper and lower mounts "as a token of esteem and respect for answering the call to arms in defence of the Union to put down a causeless and wicked rebellion honoring our great state with your display of a love for freedom and patriotism from your steadfast family and friends in Grand Haven --- 1862”.

The 35” blade is marked "Collins & Co. … Hartford, Conn. … 1862”.  The sword was assembled and retailed by Tomes, Son & Melvain of New York.  The engraving, hilt, mounts and jewelry work were done by Wm C. Stout, 566 Broadway (NY) whose markings appear on the flat of the ricasso.  The grip is silver and the hilt retains most of its gold wash.  The pommel cap has a large amethyst set in it.

Captain Ferry was soon promoted to Major of the 5th Michigan Cavalry.  Following his relief of then Colonel Freeman Norvell, Ferry was offered the colonelcy of the regiment but turned it down citing his youth and inexperience.

Major Ferry was killed on 3 July 1863 on the East Cavalry Field of Gettysburg.  The 5th Michigan had used their Spencer rifles to great advantage halting a charge of Chambliss’s Brigade, but they had depleted their ammunition.  The Confederates renewed their attack and before General Custer could charge with the 1st and 7th regiments, the red haired Major was shot through the head while rallying his battalion.

Colonel Russell A. Alger recollected in a letter to a friend in 1880. "Major Ferry, who was cheering his battalion to hold its ground, was instantly killed. His death cast a deep gloom upon the whole Brigade. He was a gallant soldier, an exemplary man and his loss was a great blow."  General Custer's official report noted the loss of "...the brave and chivalric Major N. H. Ferry."

Because of their hurried pursuit of the Confederate cavalry after the Battle of Gettysburg, Noah Ferry's comrades had only time to bury him beneath a tree at the field headquarters. Two weeks later his father and younger brother had the body disinterred and accompanied it home.

One of the tragedies of War is that is does not distinguish between the common man and the best and brightest of us.  Major Noah H. Ferry was of the latter.  One wonders what he would have made of the rest of his life had he survived Gettysburg.


Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-308

Frock Coat - Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland

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There are five (possibly six) frock coats once owned by Confederate Generals and now in private collections.  Of these, the frock coat which belonged to Brigadier General John McCausland is arguably the finest in overall terms of identification, provenance, history and significance.

Michael Kraus, historian and curator, described and analyzed this coat in depth in a segment of the documentary "The Best of Civil War Minutes – Confederate.”  Les Jensen, curator of the West Point Museum analyzed the coat and wrote a very flattering opinion letter.  He concludes that (1) the coat was most likely that of a Colonel modified to General, (2) the cloth came from the Crenshaw Mills in Richmond and that (3) the light lemon yellow trim would likely be indicative of a cavalry or staff officer.  The only known photograph of John McCausland shows him wearing this coat.

John "Tiger John” McCausland graduated from VMI first in his 1857 class.  He became an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and was present with a group of VMI cadets at the execution of John Brown at Charles Town in 1859.  He recruited and was commissioned Colonel of the 36th VA Infantry on 16 July 1861.  He fought at Fort Donelson and escaped with his command before the surrender.  Following the death of Albert Jenkins at the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain on 9 May 1864, McCausland took command of the regiment.  He was promoted to Brigadier General on 18 May 1864 and is considered the Savior of Lynchburg for his delaying action against David Hunter’s Union forces as they were laying waste to the Shenandoah Valley.  He served as a cavalry brigade commander in the Valley Campaign of 1864 under Jubal Early, raiding into Pennsylvania and Maryland.  He is accredited with being the Confederate general officer to get the closest to the U.S. Capitol during the War.  Under Early’s orders, on 30 July 1864, McCausland burned the town of Chambersburg, PA in retaliation for the destruction of private property in the South under Union Major General David Hunter.  Following this his command joined the Army of Northern Virginia during the siege of Petersburg, Five Forks and Appomattox Campaign.  He escaped with his cavalry when Lee surrendered, disbanded his unit and was paroled in Charleston, WV on 22 May 1865.  He subsequently spent two years in Europe and Mexico fearing arrest for having burned Chambersburg.  When he finally returned he lived a quiet life on the 6,000 acre farm known as "Grape Hill” in Pliny, Mason County, WV, near Point Pleasant.  He died, an unrepentant rebel at his farm on 22 Jan 1927, the last confirmed Confederate general officer to die and is buried in Henderson, WV.


Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-307

Virginia Belt - Captain John Bryant

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This two piece officer’s sword belt was worn by Captain John Bryant of the 29th Virginia Volunteer Regiment.  It is identified by a period ink inscription on the inside of the belt that reads:  "J T Bryant” in flowing script.  Bryant’s official record shows no middle initial, but review of the Confederate Virginia roster for possible matches, reveals there are no other possible matches. 

Captain John Bryant was a forty year old Carroll County, Virginia resident when he raised a company of local men for Confederate service in July of 1861.  His company, known simply as Captain John Bryant’s Company, became Company C, 29th Virginia Infantry.  The company mustered into Confederate service at Delp’s muster ground, in Carroll County, Virginia on July 25, 1861.

Captain Bryant led his company until the following May when he was discharged at Tazewell, Virginia due to his age.  He returned home to Carroll where he died in 1884.  He is buried in Captain John Marshall Cemetery in Carroll County.

Captain Bryant’s sword belt is in excellent condition.  It is one of the few Confederate belts seen that retains its original sword hangers, both of which are strong and flexible.  The leather is supple and retains nearly all of its original finish.  All of the stitching remains complete and tight.  The two piece buckle has a die stamped central disc bearing the Virginia state seal, Virtue standing over a defeated Tyranny. 


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-262

Confederate Frock Coat - G. Julian Pratt

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A well tailored Confederate cavalry lieutenant’s frock coat worn by G. Julian Pratt of the 18th Virginia Cavalry. Its fabric remains in excellent condition; its color is fresh and bright.

The coat’s double breasted six piece body is tailored with cadet gray wool broadcloth, two rows of seven large eagle staff buttons are set in the breast, six buttons on the cuffs and four on the skirts all with "Extra Quality” backmarks. The breast panels containing the button holes have been cut in a manner to form a projecting breast, the whole forming a fitted look with narrow waist. Faded yellow broadcloth piping sets off the collar, the front edge of the coat and the pocket flaps and vents. Sewn into the collar are two flat ½” gold braid bars, the top bar being 3 ¾” long, the lower bar a half inch longer, the pair indicating Pratt’s rank of 1st Lieutenant.

The sleeves are 10” across at the elbows and 5” across at the non-functioning cuffs. A lengthy galloon reaches above the midpoint of the sleeve with a gold braid sewn in a single strand. The coat measures 19¾” from the collar to waist seam, the skirts another 22 ½”. The skirts are lined with an interesting weave mixed of brown cotton thread and black/green wool thread. The sleeves are lined with light brown cotton. The interior left breast has a slit pocket.

This coat surfaced from Lieutenant Pratt’s estate along with his kepi and the 18th Virginia’s battle flag. Both the kepi and coat are published in the work Civil War Art of Don Troiani, pg. 199.

George Julian Pratt served initially with the 59th Virginia Infantry, enlisting on July 15, 1861. After being captured at Roanoke Island and subsequently exchanged he joined the 18th Virginia Cavalry, Imboden’s Brigade, in 1862. As a lieutenant he participated in action at Gettysburg, New Market and Piedmont and numerous cavalry skirmishes. Pratt was wounded on September 19, 1864 during fighting at Third Winchester, having three horses shot from under him in the process. After the war Pratt married Mary E. Brown and settled on a farm ("Walnut Grove") in South River Township, Augusta County, Virginia where he bred livestock. He died at Waynesboro, Virginia on 25 December 1924.


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-258

Addison W. Preston 1st Vermont Cavalry

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Lieutenant Colonel Addison Preston served with the 1st Vermont Cavalry and was killed during fighting at Haws’ Shop in the Cold Harbor campaign. This grouping includes his frock coat, officer’s grade trousers, shoulder straps, leather boots and spurs, belt rig, sash and Model 1840 officer’s grade cavalry saber.

Frock coat: double breasted, six piece body, indigo blue broadcloth with fine finish. Two rows of seven eagle C buttons on the front, each backmarked Schovill Mfg. Co./Waterbury. The collar stands 1” high at the throat with metal clasp, the interior is finished with black velvet, toned to a dark brown. The one piece sleeves measure 8½” at the elbow and 5¼” at the cuff and are lined with white polished cotton. The coat measures 18½” from the base of the collar to the waist seam and 22½” from the waist seam to the bottom of the skirt. At the inside cuff of the right sleeve is written in period ink "A W Preston Lt Col.”

Trousers: Bright sky blue broadcloth with 1/8” cavalry yellow broadcloth piping down the outside seam. Slash pockets on both sides with waist adjuster on the back, button fly and cotton lining at the waist.

Belt: Black bridle leather with fancy officer’s grade stitching decoration in double rows along edges. The stitch pattern on the belt and saber drops matches. Two belt keepers are intact as is the original shoulder strap. Belt plate and keeper have matching bench numbers stamped on the reverse, "#82”. The plate is cast brass with excellent relief. The protective leather tabs inside the carry hook and behind the plate remain intact. All the brass fittings are uncleaned with a mellow patina.

Boots: 12” tall with two-layer leather sole fastened in place by wooden pegs. The leather tugs are interior to the boot upper. The stitching on the side welts is solid. Fastened to the boots are original private purchase fancy grade spurs with decorative brass yokes and billet at shank, multi-pointed rowel.

Shoulder straps: Double border 7/16” wide, alternating dead bullion and bright bullion strands with bullion wire trim, cavalry yellow velvet field, 1 7/8” wide by 4 7/8” long, fastened with four cloth ties. Black polished cotton backing with metal stiffener inside, brown cotton ties with japanned metal aglets.

Sash: 110” long, 1¾” wide turned over and sewn, unblemished tassels

Sword: M1840 officer’s grade cavalry saber with curved blade, single edge with two fullers. Blade is 35 5/8” long and of Clauberg/Solingen origin. Etched with panoply of arms, US and floral motifs top of ricasso flat marked "Iron Proof”, remains of leather washer intact. Straight grip with sharkskin and wire wrap, fancy brass leaf designs cast on pommel, wrist guard and knuckle bows. The two have never been apart. Scabbard is browned with brass mounts and carry rings, the drag shows wear, throat is held in place by retaining screw.


Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-257

Summer Navy Uniform of J. Schultz

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Presented is the Summer Navy uniform, frock and pants, of J. Schultz. His name and "ships number” are stamped in black ink on the inside front of the frock on a line above the hem.

The "78" after his name would have been his ships number. This is similar to the serial number used in later years. This number was assigned to each sailor as he signed aboard a specific ship. It corresponded to different stations aboard the ship that the sailor was to report to, and different duties he was to perform during different evolutions, such as where his battle station was, where his cleaning station was, and so forth. This number was not permanent to the sailor and would have changed from ship to ship.

To date we have not been able to identify J. Schultz based on this ships number as pension records only list those enlisted sailors who applied for pensions following the Civil War. Ship records are often incomplete and pose a daunting search task.

This uniform has been fully analyzed and is a rare example of a mid 19th century US Navy enlisted white (summer) uniform. It consists of two pieces, a white frock with blue collar and cuffs and a pair of white broadfall trousers. The uniform is linen. The blue overlay on the frock cuffs and collar is a cotton fabric known as "Nankeen.” The trousers are lined in the top in the form of "shorts” of cotton drill. The entire uniform is hand sewn. The fabrics used and considerable detail in tailoring (decorated rear vent, the blue piping set into the seam on the side of the fall of the trousers, the button pattern and the pointed cuffs on the frock, etc.) indicate that this uniform was not an issued item but rather, sailor made. The detail of the uniform’s construction all points to Civil War era.

No buttons were present on the trousers. Ten period bone buttons were added to support the weight of the garment for display. These buttons were of the type commonly used at the time on sailor’s trousers. The original thread that was present at the button locations was not removed, but a lighter gauge of thread was used to attach the present buttons.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-247

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