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Reference Items
Slave Bill of Sale

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Slave bills of sale are poignant reminders that human beings were once chattel in the United States and were bought and sold as commodities. The issue of slavery was one that was not answered by our founding fathers, and it took a Civil War eighty years later to resolve.

The slave bill of sale seen here states "Rec’d of Thos B. Jeffreys Five Hundred Dollars the Purchase money of one negro boy named Burnell about fifteen years old. I warrant him to be sound in Body & mind & a slave for life & Little good. Witness my hand and seal. March 8th 1849 E. D. Rusting”. This bill of sale was registered and recorded by Andrew Vannoy, Clerk of Bedford County, Tennessee.

The seller, Thomas Jeffreys, was 37 years of age and the owner of two slaves including a male of 16 years who shows up in the 1850 slave census for Grant County, KY on 18 September 1850.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-245

Cavalry Ordnance Report

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This is a typical report of a Cavalry Company’s ordnance while in the field. On 3 May 1864 1st Lt. Robert C. Wallace, commanding Company G of the 5th Michigan Cavalry turned over the company’s ordnance supplies to 2nd Lt. Emory L. Brewer. This report details the equipment of Company G at the onset of Grant’s Overland Campaign of May-June, 1864 and just before the hard cavalry action at Yellow Tavern, Hawes Shop, Trevilian Station, and Cold Harbor when the Michigan Brigade was in the field for almost 60 straight days fighting continuously. From the Major Robert C. Wallace 5th Michigan Cavalry collection.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-196

Army of the Society of the Potomac Certificate

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Army of the Society of the Potomac Certificate belonging to Major Robert C. Wallace of the 5th Michigan Cavalry; measures 19˝”x24”.

The Society was founded in 1869 and membership was open to all soldiers of the Army of the Potomac, although few members were enlisted men. The first president was General George B. McClellan. At times, its directorate interfaced with the Grand Army of the Republic and was an effective lobby for veteran rights and pensions. In its early years, the Society expressed hostility towards Southerners and Mormons. In the 1890s it manifested concern about flag desecration and enthusiasm for the Cuban freedom-fighters. Most members favored a large military establishment, but occasionally anti-war orators were heard at reunions.

Major Wallace’s certificate is signed by U.S. Grant, who was President of the Society 1884-85 and by Horatio C. King, Medal of Honor recipient and Secretary of the Society.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-147

MOLLUS Certificate - Maj. Robert C. Wallace

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Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) Certificate belonging to Major Robert C. Wallace of the 5th Michigan Cavalry; measures 20”x24”. MOLLUS had it’s genesis on 15 April 1865 when three officers met to form an honor guard for President Lincoln’s body. It’s subsequent vision was patterned on the Revoluntary War Society of Cincinnati and only allowed "honorably discharged commissioned officers of the U.S. who had served during the Civil War to join as 'First Class' members. It’s organization, history & membership is well presented in "Union Blue, the History of the MOLLUS” by Robert G. Carroon and Dana B. Shoaf.

Wallace joined 5 August 1885 and his certificate/membership #3927 is signed by Winfield Scott Hancock, the second commander-in-chief of the organization serving from 1879 through 1886.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-146

Vicksburg Wallpaper-Newspaper

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A genuine example of the July 4, 1863 edition of the Vicksburg DAILY CITIZEN, printed on wallpaper. One of the rarest and most highly prized of all American newspapers, the July 4th issue was printed by occupying troops of the Union Army who found the typeset still intact from the pre-surrender July 2 issue and after some minor alterations of their own, printed a small number of copies to be kept as souvenirs. Their added text is found in the final paragraph and includes some jubilant digs at their Confederate counterparts. These last issues were printed on wallpaper stock, as were being utilized by the Daily Citizen for their circulation, the available stock of any other paper long ago having been exhausted. This example is printed on one of the three wallpaper patterns known to have been used on that day.

Since the July 4th surrender, over 30 reprints have been made of this edition but estimates of genuine and original examples extant range from ten to twenty. The paper is accompanied by a letter from Terrance J. Winschel, Historian of Vicksburg National Military Park stating that after 18 years of service with 50-100 requests yearly, this is only the second example he has authenticated. He includes a nine-point authenticity test, which assists in proper identification of original specimens.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-133