Reference Items
Identified Items
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

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

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