Lot 2    

Exceptional Fort Edward Engraved French & Indian War Powder Horn Dated 1759,
2009, Firearms and Militaria, Nov 4 & 5
20" length through the curve of the horn. With original wooden plug, 4" x 3.5", a raised engrailed edge ring 2.5" from spout, engrailed edge, an old lead ring around the spout. Horn engraved with linear patterns of geometric and floral designs, and includes one line of four fish, as well as helmeted soldier smoking a pipe fish. These linear embellishments serve to separate the following identification: Steel Not This Horn for Fear of Shame for on it is The Onours [sic "Owner's] name. James Garthwait His Horn made at Fort Edward September the 15 1759.

This historically important French & Indian War powder horn—inscribed “James Garthwait” and "Fort Edward" with the date "September 15, 1759" ...could only have been carried by a soldier assigned to the strategic military post on the east bank of the upper Hudson River known in lore as the "The Great Carrying Place." Ft. Edward was the center of a frontier war zone, a place where civilians did not casually traffic in 1759.

Ft. Edward was constructed in 1755 on the site of an earlier French post and was improved during 1755-56 as an expansive three bastion, Vauban-style fort made of stone surrounded by a dry moat. Opposite the fort was Rogers Island, the base camp of the famous green-clad Rogers Rangers who made their reputation mimicking native tactics during the French and Indian War.

The garrison was heavily reinforced in August-September 1757 following the loss of Ft. William Henry (the French burned it) and the horrendous massacre that occurred at the base of Lake George. In due time Fort Edward served as the major staging area and depot for Major General Jeffery Amherst's British Army during his ultimately successful invasion of Canada in 1759-60.

The frontier campaign effectively ended the French & Indian War and bestowed short-lived British dominion of North American and to Amherst the title of first Governor-General. Following the capture of Forts Carillion (renamed Ticonderoga) and St. Frederic (Crown Point) by Amherst's 2,000 man army in July 1759, Fort Edward was significantly reduced as the tempo of the campaign moved north along Lake St. George into Canada (Montreal and Quebec). Ft. Edward was finally abandoned in 1766 and played only a minor role in the American Revolution a decade later. If we are to take the "September 15, 1759" date literally in real time, then James Garthwait and his horn must have been part of the remaining holding force anchoring Amherst's logistics into Canada.

James Garthwait (1737-1820) was a life long Jersey man from Elizabethtown where he married Ann Crane at St. John's Church on May 31, 1761 following French & Indian War service as a private in the “Jersey Blues.” During the frontier period of Colonial history New Jersey raised (in 1746) just a single "Regiment of Troops" known by 1747 as the "Jersey Blues." Composed of entirely of volunteers (some blacks and native Americans), the unit commanded by Colonel Peter Schuyler was a "regular provincial regiment," separate and distinct from local militia levy called up for short service in the New Jersey Frontier Guard, having campaigned outside of the colony in upper New York during 1746-47.

With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1755 Colonel Schuyler raised the regiment again with 500 to 1,000 recruits (accounts vary) and despite their small number the Jersey troops played a significant role in the tumultuous events on the frontier. Initially, disaster befell the regiment at the outpost of Oswego (New York) where Schuyler and a large number of the Blues were captured by marauding French and Indians under Montcalm in August 1756. About 350 men under a Captain Parker escaped to Fort William Henry. On July 8, 1757 a large detachment of the Blues was ambushed at a place called Sabbath Day Point near Ticonderoga suffering another 150 captured and 50 killed. Between 80 and 100 men escaped to Ft. William Henry joining about 200 Blues who were part of the 2,600 man British garrison.

Shortly thereafter in August Ft. William Henry came under siege (during a smallpox outbreak) and was forced to surrender to a much larger French and Indian force under Montcalm who had offered equitable terms not explained to his restive native allies. As the British marched away the enraged Indian contingent of 1,600 attacked the unwary column massacring at least 300 and carrying off many more (period accounts put the number of victims as high as 1,500, portraying the French as complicit).

The regiment was reconstituted in 1758 and participated in the abortive assault on Ft. Carillon where a number of Blues were killed. Another contingent of Jersey men helped reduce Ft. Frontenac on Lake Ontario.

The regiment was once more re-mustered under Colonel Schuyler (held captive by the French until November 1758) and garrisoned Fort Edward in May 1759 as part of Jeffery Amherst's invasion force. On July 2, 1759 a work party of Blues was ambushed near Lake George and six "were killed and scalped...in a most shocking manner." The regiment was engaged at Niagara in August 1759 advancing with Amherst and ended the campaign having participated in the glorious capture of Quebec in 1760. Payroll accounts show that the "Old Blues" as they were now called were still mustered in 1761. In 1762 a contingent of the Jersey Blues provincial regiment joined a British expedition to Havana.

James Garthwait cannot be positively verified on the muster rolls of the Jersey Blues from the French & Indian War period as the rolls are not published online or readily available in hardcover. However, the muster rolls do exist and are available for review in the New Jersey State Archives Collection, Department of Defense, Adjutant General's Office, Draft Compilations of Military Service Rosters, Box 2 and Reel 2. A recent book by Greg Casterline, self-published in 2007, titled Colonial Tribulations-The New Jersey Blues at Ft. Oswego and Ft. William Henry delves into the French & Indian War exploits of this hard-fighting provincial regiment.

A final note on uniforms and equipment. It can be deduced that the Jersey Blues entered the French & Indian War dressed as frontiersmen armed with typical long rifle, ball pouch and horn. Modern day re-enactors emphasize this impression. According to a New Jersey Historical Society article written in 1924 the men "were supplied with one hat, one pair of stockings and one pair of shoes" but were otherwise expected to arm and equip themselves for which they were paid an allowance and small salary authorized by the New Jersey legislature. Despite the moniker, the Jersey Blues did not receive complete uniforms — blue faced with scarlet — until August, 1760, near the end of their third French & Indian War enlistment. It is also known that New Jersey men served in the (British) regular 60th Regiment of Foot recruited exclusively from colonials, known as the Royal Americans. The Jersey Blues became the 1st New Jersey Regiment and fought with distinction during the American Revolution.

Horn has a beautiful yellow patina that is untouched and never cleaned. Wood plug is dried and scuffed. An outstanding horn which recently surfaced in Denver, Colorado.
Sold: $25,875.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
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