Reference Items
Identified Items
Inscribed Sword – Captain R. S. Seabury AAG

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Vetted Civil War General & Staff Officers swords, often referred to incorrectly as Model 1860 Staff & Field officer swords, are exceedingly rare. Those most commonly seen are of post war issue, and are difficult to distinguish from Civil War dated swords. Most of the swords documented to Civil War use were of Ames manufacture. During the Civil War this diminutive model sword was not popular with officers.

This beautiful General Staff & Officer sword bears an inscription on the clamshell guard which reads: "Presented to Captain R.S. Seabury AAG by Lieut. P.C. Rogers ADC”. The sword measures 36 inches overall, the diamond shaped blade 29½ inches with a maximum width of 11/16 inches. The blade is marked on the ricasso with a circle inside of which is "F B D” arched left, above and right respectively of a plumed Greek helmet crossed by a sword, indicating that this sword was likely an import from the French firm of F. Delacour & Bakes. The fine leather grip is wrapped with a single twisted wire strand. The 32 inch scabbard has elaborate mounts which appear to have been made from the same mold designed by master sculptor John Q. Word of New York and used by the Ames Sword Co. to fabricate a documented sword presented to General U.S. Grant in 1863. The Seabury sword could have been one of the 25 imported by Schuyler, Hartley & Graham 20 August 1862.

Captain Robert S. Seabury AAG of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was on the staff of Brigadier General Joshua T. "Paddy” Owen, first with the Philadelphia Brigade and then 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corp (1864). He received numerous commendations in the Official Records, but notably December 18, 1862 from Colonel Owens for his role on Marye’s Heights at the Battle of Fredericksburg and on March 25, 1864 from Major General Gouverneur K. Warren for his heroic actions during the demonstration on the Rapidan. Captain Seabury died May 8, 1864 from wounds received two days earlier at the Battle of the Wilderness.

The sword’s presenter, 1st Lt. Phillip Clayton Rogers, served with the 55th New York Volunteer Infantry and then with the 39th NYV ("The Garibaldi Guards”). On February 29, 1864 he was promoted Aide de Camp on the staff of General Owen; prior to this date he had been acting in this capacity. A report penned by General Owen on February 9, 1864 mentions both Seabury and Rogers as serving on his staff and having rendered "gallant” and "valuable” assistance. The above photograph of Lt. Rogers while in the 39th NYV (provided by Michael Hammerson) shows him holding a similar sword.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-205

Inscribed Sword - General Michael Corcoran

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Known as the "Prince of Wales sword”, this is a Model 1850 Presentation grade Staff & Field Officer’s sword by Ames Manufacturing Co., Chicopee, Mass. The sword bears a Phrygian pommel and a white sharkskin grip. The gilted guard retains substantial gilt in protected areas. Highly unusual is the removal of the regulation "U.S.” in the guard and the placement with an Irish harp. The knucklebow and outer branch of the basket have additional engraving. On the obverse mount is inscribed:

"Presented To Col. M. Corcoran of the 69th Regt N.Y.S.M.
In commemoration of the 11th of October 1860”


Known as "The Hero of Bull Run,” Brigadier General Corcoran is one of the most storied Irish/American patriots to emerge during the American civil war. Born in Ireland in 1821, he immigrated to New York in 1849, but he retained his feelings against the British crown. Just prior to the Civil War, Corcoran rose to command of the 69th New York State Militia, a famed Irish regiment.

The following year, Colonel Corcoran made his national reputation as the champion of all Irish in America. On October 11, 1860 (see sword inscription), President Buchanan invited the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII of England) to visit New York, where a ball and a militia parade were given in his honor. Corcoran refused to order the 69th Regiment to march in a parade in honor if the future king. His insubordination was met with arrest by state authorities and a court martial. The case was pending when Sumter was fired upon, and expediency led to a convenient forgetting of the charges. The 69th, with their colonel at its head, was one of the first regiments to march to the defense of the Union.

Upon departure for the seat of war, Col. Corcoran was presented by his supporters, in honor of his disregard of the Prince of Wales, with a green silk flag whose center was the ancient flag of Erin, and the above pictured 1850 Model Staff and Field Officer’s sword.

The regiment was first stationed on Arlington Heights at Fort Corcoran, then marched to Bull Run where Corcoran was wounded in the heavy fighting and taken prisoner and confined to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Exchanged in August, 1862, Corcoran was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers and was received in a massive celebration by 650,000 onlookers, until that time the largest crowd ever amassed in the United States. Here, General Corcoran received a jeweled presentation sword. General Corcoran then organized the Corcoran Legion. The legion was engaged in various battles in Virginia, then in October, 1863, was transferred to the Army of the Potomac. On Dec. 22, 1863, while riding in the company of General Thomas Meagher, Corcoran fell from his horse and was crushed to death. It is believed he suffered a heart attack due to the privations endured in Libby Prison.

General Meagher, Corcoran’s friend and fellow member of the Fenian Brotherhood, delivered the eulogy at the lecture hall of the Cooper Institute. This event was attended by officers of the 69th N.Y.N.G., officers of the Irish Legion and Irish Brigade, and members of the civic and military communities. Meagher, in a moving oration, spoke of General Corcoran’s brave resistance to the Prince of Wales...”Never with so dazzling an effect, did an impeached soldier reverse the tide that had set in against him. That when he had heard the reply that the republic was in danger, he had gone forth himself amongst the first of its defenders, consecrating his sword and life to its defense.”

The sword was obtained from family descendants in 1992.

Member - Mike Shotwell
Item #: CIV-201

Seaman Alden A. Battey’s Hat

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Alden Battey came from an old Rhode Island family. At a young teen, he took to the sea, serving aboard the U.S. frigate Raritan from 1850-1853. In September of 1862, at the age of 34 he reenlisted in the Navy and for nine months served on board the U.S.S. Santee, a sister ship to the U.S.S. Constitution, as Captain of the Fore Castle (Petty Officer).

Battey’s hat is a beautiful, classic example of an uncommonly seen piece of Civil War headgear. It was commercially made and privately purchased. As a dress hat, it was not for fatigue use, but would have been donned only on special occasions such as shore excursions or for photographs.

The hat is made of a fine dark blue wool fabric similar to that seen on many frock coats. The brim measures 10¼” across with an internal measurement of 7”. The 1⅜” leather sweatband is original to the hat. Its attachment has been strengthened by a few modern stitches. The interior liner is a dark green polished cotton, quilted with elaborate patterned machine stitching, using linen thread typical of that used in uniforms of the period. This thread was dyed with Logwood and has faded from its original black to brown. More common duty hats were lined with old cotton shirting, using the same fabric for the sweatband.

Sailors often placed stiffeners inside their hats to help them hold their shape. Often these objects were "pillows” stuffed with cotton batting, horse hair from old mattresses, or other similar material. The original tailor of Battey’s dress hat made this accommodation with a ⅜” metal spring "grommet,” a feature found only on privately purchased and higher quality pieces of naval headgear.

Finishing the hat is a 1½” silk ribbon (known as a cap tally,) hand painted with the ship’s name ‘Santee.’ The cap tally has a ribbon off to the side, sewn with three white buttons in an ornamental vertical line. While cap tallies do not appear in any regulations until 1886, they seem to have been a common feature on sailor’s dress hats, with anecdotal evidence dating as far back as 1812.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-193

Inscribed Sword - Lt. Col. George H. Caldwell AAG

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This is a Horstmann manufactured 1850 staff & field officer’s sword which bears the names of both the recipient, and its famous presenter.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, George Caldwell abandoned his medical practice and followed his brother, Major General John C. Caldwell, into military service. When he received a staff appointment with the 11th Maine Volunteers, his brother, the General, presented this sword to him. Inscribed on the on the top mount in beautiful engraved text is: "Presented to Capt. George H. Caldwell from Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell August 2, 1862.”

During his career, Captain Caldwell served on his brother’s staff, in the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Hancock’s II Corps, in the Army of the Potomac. This division was considered the greatest fighting division of the Union Army.

By war’s end, George had served with distinction on the staffs of three major military figures: Maj. Gen. Caldwell at Antietam (the Sunken Road), Fredericksburg (assault against the stone wall) and Chancellorsville; Colonel Edward Cross (64th N.Y. Vols.) at Gettysburg; and General Nelson Miles (64th N.Y. Vols.) at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.

Captain Caldwell was wounded five times in battle, including Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg where his ankle was shattered by the fierce canon fire preceding Pickett’s charge on July 3rd.

Four days after the battle of Antietam, photographer Alexander Gardner took a group photo of General Caldwell and staff, showing Captain George H. Caldwell, seated, holding his sword in his left hand, with General Caldwell behind him. To the right is famed Colonel Edward E. Cross of the 5th New Hampshire. A few weeks later, Caldwell's Irish Brigade found themselves assaulting the stone wall at Marye's Heights, during the battle of Fredericksburg. During the horrific charge Caldwell’s brigade lost a staggering 952 men.

On Oct. 9, 1867, Captain Caldwell was promoted to Major, and on the same day to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel of Volunteers for "Gallant and meritorious services at the Battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg…and the Campaigns of the Wilderness and before Petersburg.”

The evening of April 14, 1865, Captain George H. Caldwell was in attendance at Ford’s Theatre when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. After the national funeral services, the sword's presenter, General John C. Caldwell, was among the nine major generals named as the honor guard to accompany Lincoln's casket on its procession to the cemetery at Springfield, Illinois. In the Caldwell grouping is a piece of one of the American flags that were displayed in Lincoln’s funeral car while it was in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Member - Mike Shotwell
Item #: CIV-192

Presentation Sword - Captain James O. Paxson

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An 1850 presentation grade staff & field officer’s sword inscribed to Capt. James O. Paxson of the 48th New York Infantry, a regiment known as the "Die-No-Mores.” He was promoted captain in June, 1862 and presented this sword which is inscribed on the top mount: "Presented to Capt. J.O. Paxson by the Members of Co. D, 48th Regt. N.Y.S.V.” The blade bears the etched inscriptions: "Presented to Capt. Jas O. Pax[t]son, Co. D 48th NYSV by the members of his company.”

During Captain Paxson‘s military career, "No officer in the regiment stood higher in reputation for bravery and soldierly qualities.” After three years of service, the regiment suffered 236 men killed in action or died from wounds. The loss of 18 officers, 16 at the Battle of Fort Wagner, was unsurpassed by any Union regiment.

After fighting at Port Royal Harbor, and the capture of Fort Pulaski, Paxson took part on the assault of Battery Wagner on July 18, 1863. Captain Paxson was mortally wounded by canon fire while leading his men up the south parapet of the fort. Clinging to life, he was transported to Beaufort, S.C. where he died ten days later.

Individual histories have noted:

"He was among the first to fall in crossing the ditch of the fort. Both legs were shattered at the knees….Amputation of the limb was advised, but there seemed too little vitality to warrant it. With others he was taken to Beaufort lying on a mattress on the floor of the steam-boat Mary Benton...”

"In his frequent delirium he would cry out "Come on, die-no-mores. Come on boys,” the very words I am informed he used as the regiment took the double quick and plunged into the seething abyss of death and destruction
.”

"Captain Paxson fell like a hero at the head of his noble company of young men, most of whom poured out their blood by his side, and laid them down to their rest of honor."

Member - Mike Shotwell
Item #: CIV-191

Infantry Officer's Frock - Maj. Gen. John Ramsey

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Regulation infantry officer’s frock coat exhibiting extensive field wear, with original captain’s shoulder straps. The coat, which belonged to Major General John Ramsey (then a captain) of New Jersey, is tailored of very fine woven tuxedo quality wool fabric. The coat exhibits some discoloration and moth nips on the shoulder behind the neck, and some minor repairs on the front side. Inside the breast pocket are General Ramsey’s elaborate inked initials "JR" with the year "1861." His faded name and unit are also penned on the inside of the collar. The body lining is green polished cotton. The tail pockets and sleeves are lined with off-white polished cotton. All eagle "I” buttons are matching with appropriate patina. The coat’s collar measures 2” in height; its sleeve circumference is approximately 18” at the elbow and 10½” at the cuff. Length of the coat from waist seam to the bottom of the skirt is 21½”. The captain's shoulder straps are original to the coat, and are an early war pattern with wide, double border strap and boullion wire wrap.

Until recently, the coat was in a private museum in the south. A small note was found in the skirt pocket, bearing the text of "Marching through Georgia” in General Ramsey’s own hand.

Ramsey enlisted with the highly decorated 5th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in 1861, and later commanded the 8th New Jersey. He was promoted quickly becoming a Brigadier General in March of 1864 and brevetted Major General in March 1865.

He wore his captain’s coat in the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, and as a colonel later commanded brigades at the great battles fought by the Army of the Potomac, including Chancellorsville (wounded) and also Gettysburg where he was wounded in the Wheatfield. The monument of the 8th New Jersey is inscribed with Colonel Ramsey’s name.

Member - Mike Shotwell
Item #: CIV-190

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