Reference Items
Identified Items
Inscribed Cane - General William G. Belknap

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35¼" cane from the staff of a Mexican standard captured by Lt. Colonel William Goldsmith Belknap 9 May 1846 at Resaca de la Palma, Texas during the Mexican War. Colonel Belknap rallied his troops to break the Mexican line and later had the "split mexican stick" sent to New York to have it mounted in gold. Belknap was brevetted Colonel for his actions and later Brigadier General at Monterey. For the full story of this historic personal battle honor see "Gen. Belknap's 'Old Split Mexican Stick" in the Articles Section.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-145

Colt Fluted Army - Inscribed Gordon A. Stewart

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This Colt 1860 Army revolver is a .44 cal percussion pistol with fluted cylinder, 7½” barrel, Serial #2171. It bears an original period script inscription, "Lt. Gordon A. Stewart from Co. D. 4th Reg’t, O.V.M. May 9th, 1861”. The revolver is in very good original condition and is 100% complete and correct.

Colt's factory letter states that the pistol was shipped to Colt’s New York office where it was likely inscribed. Lt. Stewart enlisted with the 4th Ohio Infantry on April 14, 1861, four days after the bombardment of Ft. Sumter. He was promoted through the ranks from Lieutenant of Company D to his eventual rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served until June 21, 1864.

Stewart saw action in the battles of Winchester, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor and others. He was wounded by a shell fragment during his regiment's assault on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg. Surviving this wound, he returned to service with the 4th and was later shot in the chest by a mini-ball at Robinson’s Tavern. Stewart survived the Civil War.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-142

Inscribed sword - Capt. Samuel P. Sayles

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This presentation grade sword bears the following inscription on the upper mount: "Presented to Capt. S. P. Sayles by the members of Co. D, 2nd N.H.V. Feby 28, 1863".

The sword has a German silver grip with brass mounts and blued scabbard. Both the mounts and drag have fine engraving, the guard and quillon are a high grade oak leaf design in very fine untouched condition. Blade is marked with Schuyler Hartley & Graham, New York in circular mark at ricasso and is of Solingen origin. It bears an engraving of a winged eagle over a banner. On the opposite side is "U.S.” with floral motifs. The blade is untouched and in very fine condition.

Sayles enlisted very early in the war with the 2nd New Hampshire, one of Fox’s fighting 300 regiments. Their engagements included Bull Run (early on the field, yet the last regiment to depart from Henry House Hill), Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Glendale, Malvern Hill (where Sayles was wounded), Kettle Run, 2nd Bull Run (against Stonewall Jackson at the railroad cut), Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.

Although the 2nd continued its military service through Cold Harbor in 1864, Sayles was badly wounded at Gettysburg while fighting in the peach orchard along the Emmitsburg Road on the 2nd day. Left lying on the field after his regiment was overrun, he remained there through the night. While thus exposed, his boots were forcibly taken from him by a rebel skulker. During the night, he made his way across the battlefield, strewn with the carnage of the day's fighting, to the Trostle Barn where he sought shelter among wounded of both armies. Here, Captain Sayles was discovered by Union search parties on July 4th, two days later. The Captain's wound ended his Civil War service.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-139

Inscribed sword - Francis J. Herron

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Model 1850 Foot Officer’s sword presented to Francis J. Herron in 1861. The sword is in untouched and uncleaned condition. The original wire wrap is fully intact with rayskin grip showing some aging. The brass guard is uncleaned as are the pommel and mounts on the scabbard. The blade retains a dark patina and is etched with floral and patriotic motifs. On the guard is inscribed in period script "Presented to Capt. F. J. Herron by Co. I, 1st Iowa S. Vol. Dubuque, Sept 1861.” The browned metal scabbard has miscellaneous handling dings consistent with the untouched condition of the sword.

In 1861, Herron was serving as a Captain in the 1st Iowa where he fought at Wilson’s Creek. His unit suffered heavy losses and was mustered out, having completed their 90 days service. Herron was then commissioned Lt. Colonel in the 9th Iowa. His heroic actions at Pea Ridge a few months later won him the Congressional Medal of Honor, but in the process, he was wounded and captured. A few weeks after the battle, he was exchanged but a squabble arose over his sword. The capturing Confederate officer refused to return the sword, preferring to keep it as a souvenir of the Battle of Pea Ridge. Only the intervention of the Confederate Commanding General VanDorn brought the return of the sword to Herron, with VanDorn’s compliments.

Immediately after Pea Ridge, Herron was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. After a fantastic movement of his command over the Ozark Plateau, his forces helped assure a Union victory at the Battle of Prairie Grove and he won promotion to the rank of Major General, making him the youngest soldier to hold such rank for either side during the war. Herron subsequently commanded the XIII corps at Vicksburg. This is a very historic and interesting sword inscribed and presented early in the war to an officer who demonstrated his willingness to take the fight directly to the enemy.

Member - John Beckendorf
Item #: CIV-137

Slouch Hat - Captain Rufus W. Smith

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Cavalry Officer’s slouch hat identified to Capt. Rufus W. Smith, a member of the California Battalion who fought under the flag of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry during the Civil War. The 2nd Mass. was active in pursuit of John Mosby throughout the hills of Virginia and eventually saw much action in the Eastern Theatre. This slouch hat is in fine condition with minor mothing on crown. The felt is thick and supple with wide red Russian leather interior band, brittle but original to the hat. Black cotton cockade fastener to ostrich plume with woven acorns on hat chord. Cavalry insignia sewn on front with silver "2" for 2nd Mass. Identified with period ink on inside of band, to Capt. R.W.Smith, being Rufus W. Smith whose military records accompany the hat.

Captain Smith was mortally wounded leading his cavalry company on a charge at Cedar Creek, Va. in 1864 at the approximate age of 30. Originally from Maine, Smith was a member of the California Light Guard when in San Francisco, and resigned to join Captain Eigenbrodt's Company E of the California Battalion. After the death of J. Sewall Reed, founding officer and captain of the storied Cal 100, Captain Smith was appointed to succeed Reed. Captain Smith was mortally wounded during a saber charge against Confederate infantry at Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864. For more information on the Californians in the war, visit the excellent website hosted by Earl Robinson at

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-122

Inscribed Presentation Sword - James C. Parrott

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Presentation grade sword given to James C. Parrott by the men of his company in 1861. The blade displays period etching with scrolls and patriotic motifs. Its eagle guard, quillon and pommel retain much of their original gilt and are uncleaned showing a rich golden patina. The rayskin grip and original wire wrap are near perfect and intact. The metal scabbard has been browned and includes richly cast mountings and drag. On the scabbard is inscribed in original period script: Lieut. Col. J. C. Parrott By Co. E., 7th Regt. Iowa Vols. Keokuk, Iowa 1861.

This sword is accompanied by Parrott's original escutcheon with his military service honors. Parrott served in the military as a private in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, from 1834-1837. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted at the age of 51 with the 7th Iowa Infantry 1861 and mustered in as a grey-bearded Captain. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 7th Iowa Infantry, and eventually by brevet as Brigadier General in 1865. He has an excellent battle record, opening with the Battle of Belmont where he received four wounds from gunfire, and was given only minutes to live by Union surgeons. Surviving the night, he was granted a furlough by U. S. Grant to allow time for recovery. Upon his return, he was presented this sword by the grateful members of his company in appreciation for his leadership at Belmont. While in command of the 7th Iowa, Parrot led the regiment through their action at Shiloh where they fought alongside other Iowans in the Hornet's Nest. A near miss by a Confederate artillery shell rendered him unconscious during the fighting. Parrott was wounded once again at Corinth, a few months later.

His escutcheon notes that he carried the surrender papers between the lines at Ft. Donelson, as U. S. Grant made his "unconditional surrender" demand to Confederate General Buckner.

Member - Mike Sorenson
Item #: CIV-107

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