Reference Items
Identified Items
Pistol & Diary of George W. Buhrer - Cal Battalion

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Five journals written by members of the storied Cal Hundred and Cal Battalion have survived the years since the Civil War. They have been the source of research on the movements and daily life of 500 men who left California and served in the Civil War under the flag of the 2nd Mass Cavalry. All five diaries are held in museum manuscript collections.

Now, a sixth has surfaced. It is the daily journal of George W. Buhrer, a German immigrant who served with Company E of the Cal Battalion, part of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. The journal spans the period from his enlistment in February 1863 in San Francisco, until June 1866, with occasional entries reaching into 1867. Buhrer's recordings offer rich descriptions of the daily struggles of a cavalry trooper in the Civil War. He covers his regular forays across the byroads of Virginia in search of Confederate John Mosby, the spectacular arrival on the field of General Phil Sheridan at the Battle of Cedar Creek, and the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse.

At war's end, Sergeant Buhrer purchased his pistol, his Spencer carbine and his cavalry sabre from the U.S. government for $21.00. Accompanying Buhrer's diary is his Colt Army pistol, identified by serial number in his journal entry dated Friday, April 24, 1863. The whereabouts of his sabre and Spencer are lost to history. Also accompanying the journal is a second journal dated 1890 which contains daily entries by Buhrer on business conducted from his ranch in Montana.

The Civil War journal is hardbound, 6¼" X 8¼" and contains 117 pages of original handwritten script. The Colt revolver is in fine condition with traces of case color on the frame. All serial numbers match and place its manufacture date as early in 1863, there are two faint cartouches on opposing sides of the grips, and initials JWB carved into the butt for Jorg W. Buhrer.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-225

Corcoran Zouaves Officer's Jacket - Thomas Hickey

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Worn by Captain Thomas Hickey of Company A, 164th New York Infantry, this is an example of a Zouave officer's jacket from the noted "Corcoran Legion." Soldiers of this regiment are pictured on pg. 138, "Echoes of Glory–Arms & Equipment of the Union." In the photograph, two unnamed captains wear coats nearly identical to this pattern.

The sleeves are adorned with an intricately woven captain's trefoil of gold piping. A detailed trefoil also ornaments the back of the jacket at the waist. Matching gold piping trims the collar and edges of the coat. The fabric of the garment is finely woven broadcloth, slightly lighter blue than the typical officer's frock coats of the period. Both sleeves are widely tapered at the elbow, narrowing at the cuff, and nicely gathered at the shoulder seams. The inside lining is green polished cotton; the sleeves are lined with white cotton. An interior pocket is sewn into the left breast. All sixteen matching eagle "I" buttons bear "Scovill Mfg. Co." backmarks. The captain's shoulder straps are on a dark blue field, with dead bullion gold borders, interspersed with bright bullion strands.

Captain Hickey mustered into the Irish 164th New York on August 26, 1862, accepting a commission with company A. He was twenty-four years old, and married with one young daughter. Hickey saw service with the Irish regiment through the early years of the war. In February, 1864 he was granted a furlough home, visiting his young family for 10 days. Three months later, on June 3, 1864 he received five bullet wounds, one of which shattered his right arm, during the second assault on Confederate works at Cold Harbor. Captain Hickey died after surgery at Armory Square Hospital in Washington D.C., his wife Joanna having come down from New York to be with him. She gave birth to their second daughter that November.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-219

Brigadier's Frock Coat - General John Cook

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General John Cook wore this frock coat, after his promotion to Brigadier General in March 1862. Cook is pictured in "General's In Blue" by Ezra J. Warner, wearing what may likely be this same uniform.

The coat exhibits all the characteristics of a Civil War pattern frock, including its comparatively long skirts and broadened sleeves, well gathered at the shoulders. The fabric is indigo blue broadcloth with black velvet facings at the cuffs and collar, both velvet areas showing use at the edges. The coat’s interior has the typical green body lining and white polished cotton sleeve lining. The breast is heavily padded, the pockets in both tails are lined with brown cotton. The original shoulder straps are a large triple border pattern with dark blue velvet field. Each has an applied German silver brigadier's star bordered by bullion wire wraps, with alternating dead bullion and bright bullion strands . Sixteen breast buttons and four skirt buttons are all eagle staff, high convex buttons, backmarked "Extra Quality."

Cook served as Colonel of the 7th Illinois Infantry, then rose to brigade command in the Fall of 1862. At Ft. Donelson, he directed an assault by his regiment on a Tennessee battery of guns, under the view of Ulysses S. Grant. The bold assault won General Grant's praise and a brigadier's star for Cook. A few weeks later, on the morning of April 6, 1862, General Cook was seated in a stateroom with Grant on the steamboat Tigris. While chatting over breakfast, a messenger burst in with news of artillery fire at Pittsburgh Landing. The Battle of Shiloh had begun.

General Cook rose to serve as commander of the Department of Illinois, and survived the war.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-217

Andrew Jackson Mackay's Pipe

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Hand carved American walnut pipe; the width of the bowl measures 1¾ inches and its height is 2¾ inches:

Left: Incised eagle with banner over shield; banner reads "on ward”.
Center: Relief eagle with banner; banner reads "E Pluribus Unum”.
Right: Incised eagle with banner over shield; banner reads "union for ever”.

Inscribed battle honors:
Pea Ridg March 6, 7, & 8 1862                                            Chapin Hills Oct, 8th 1862
Stone River Dec, 30, 31st 1862 And Jan, 1, 2, 3 1863          Chickamauga Sept, 19, 20th, 1863
Mission Ridg Nov 25 1863

Andrew Jackson Mackay was born August 7, 1827 in Caledonia, New York. He left home at the age of 16 for Texas where he devoted himself to various business ventures and ranching before the Civil War. When hostilities began, he returned home where he enlisted on October 7, 1861 and was commissioned as a Captain and Assistant Quartermaster. Mackay served in the Tennessee and Kentucky campaigns under Generals Buell, Rosecrans, and Thomas. A Frank Leslie lithograph shows him on the staff of General Asboth at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

On January 28, 1863 Mackay was appointed Chief Quartermaster, 14th Army Corps and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On August 8, 1864 he was appointed Chief Quartermaster of the Army of the Cumberland and subsequently promoted to the rank of Colonel. He served on the staff of General George H. Thomas, the "Rock of Chickamauga” for much of the war. Mackay was brevetted Brigadier General on March 13, 1865. Following the war he returned to New York City, and passed away January 18, 1901.

This pipe came from his estate. There is no record of who carved the intricate detail on this pipe, but talented soldiers were known to carve such pipes for sale to officers. This is an especially fine example of both incised and relief carving, listing multiple battle honors.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-215

Inscribed Sword - Nicholas Grumbach, 149th NY

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The "Syracuse Daily Courier and Union” of September 22, 1862 recorded that "On Saturday evening Capt. Nicholas Grumbach was made the recipient of a sword, sash and belt, a present from his fellow members of the Board of Supervisors. The presentation took place at the Mayor’s room in the City Hall, and was attended by the members of the Board residing in the city, a number of Capt. Grumbach’s company and several citizens.”

Captain Grumbach was the Supervisor of the Second Ward, Onandaga County, New York, a member of the city’s war committee, and captain of the Monroe Cadets. He was instrumental in raising Company B of the 149th New York Volunteers and was elected their captain.

This sword was carried by Captain Grumbach throughout the war. He was subsequently promoted to Lt. Colonel and commanded the regiment for the last year of the war. The 149th NYV took part in the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wauhatchie. Lookout Mountain, Ringgold, Resaca, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Pine Knob, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek (where Major Grumbach was wounded) and the siege of Savannah; and they were present at the battles of Missionary Ridge, Rocky Face Ridge, Averasboro, Bentonville and The Carolinas. The 149th NYV lost 133 dead and 353 wounded, placing them among Fox’s 300 Fighting Regiments.

For additional details of this magnificent battle sword, see "The 149th New York at Culp’s Hill – Gettysburg” by WCCWC member Mike Shotwell, found in the Articles Section of this web site.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-214

Inscribed Sword - Lt. William McNamara, 69th P.V.

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"A thousand fell where Kemper led;
A thousand died where Garnett bled;
In blinding flame and strangling smoke
The remnant through the batteries broke
And crossed the works with Armistead.”

Lt. William F. McNamara commanded Company I ("The Tiger Zouaves”) of the 69th Pennsylvania Volunteers. McNamara’s company held the 69th’s right flank under the copse of trees at the famous angle of the wall at Gettysburg. This spot was Robert E. Lee’s objective for General Picket’s historic charge on July 3rd, 1863. It has since been known as the high water mark of the Confederacy for the Civil War.

McNamara’s sword was presented to him by comrades of his company. It was carried that day in his hand, a hand that was subsequently extended in friendship to those of Pickett’s Division exactly 24 years later during the dedication of the 69th’s monument at Gettysburg (see the picture above).

Additional information about the 69th PVI at Gettysburg can be found in D. Scott Hartwig’s excellent article in Gettysburg Magazine "It Struck Horror to Us All”.

This fine Staff & Field Officers sword is marked "Evans & Hassal” and "Philada” at the ricasso. The German silver scabbard is inscribed "Lieut. Wm. F. McNamara Co. I 69th Reg. P.V.” Lt. McNamara carried this sword at Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House. At Fredericksburg he was wounded in the charge on Marye’s Heights. A Confederate bullet passed through his left thigh, striking and damaging the scabbard of his sword. The German silver repairs to the scabbard are visible on the scabbard.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-213

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