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Civil War Archive and Non-Regulation Officer's Sword Attributed to Sgt. John B. Stewart, Co. A, 11 OVI

34" blade etched with military motifs, ricasso stamped with H. Sauerbier, Newark New Jersey. Brass knuckle bow with E. Pluribus Unum and eagle over U.S. Leather and brass wire wrapped handle. Browned metal scabbard with brass carrying rings, throat and drag. Sword not not inscribed but attributed to John B. Stewart based on an accompanying file of documents that originated with the sword and have descended in the family.

John B. Steward enlisted as a private in Company A., 11th OVI in April 1861. He was promoted to corporal in June 1861 and to sergeant in December 1862 mustering out as a veteran in June 1864. The 11th OVI saw early service with the Kanawha brigade/division in West Virginia and with the 9th Corps, Army of the Potomac enduring heavy fighting at South Mountain and Antietam. The regiment was transferred to Tennessee in January 1863 joining the vaunted 14th Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The 11th OVI then participated in the Tullahoma campaign, the battle of Chickamauga, and the siege of Chattanooga later that fall. The regiment joined in the early phase of Atlanta operations with veterans mustering out in June 1864. The remaining veterans and recruits constituted a battalion attached to the 92nd OVI until January 1865.

In addition to the sword, the lot contains a fine US beltplate; an stamped brass Infantry hat device; and a folio account book maintaing all records for the Hospital of the 11th OVI.

The lot also includes a gathering of additional post-war items associated with GAR: a fine cane with gold-filled knob inscribed J.B. Steward 1861-1865; a fraternal (?) belt with plain brass plate; a small minute book and reunion ribbon for the 11th OVI Reunion Association; containing membership lists, and minutes of the meetings (1869-71); war swordbelt; GAR kepi and swordbelt with buckle; a GAR hat cord; a framed photo and GAR medal of Stewart; a framed Union Defenders Certificate presented to Stewart for his service with the 11th OVI; several GAR pamphlets; a wroughtbranding iron with three lines reading J.B. Steward S. Fine No 169; a large relief carved walnut acorn branded on the verso by the iron; a watch fob; a fragmentary "Sweetheart's" belt made of post-war military button, and a clutch of lesser ephemera.

Another highlight of the archive is a post-war letter, dated 1889, written to Stewart by D.B. Aldrich who served with the NY 13th Infantry, but was taken prisoner at the First Bull Run 7/21/1861, and held at Salisbury Confederate Prison in North Carolina until June 1862. Aldrich describes the situation at Bull Run prior to being taken prisoner, and explains that he was shot in the left leg and that a shell fragment hit him in the head, over his left eye, which knocked the stuffing out of him. As a result of the wound above his eye, Aldrich experienced major health issues, and he discusses applying for a pension in the letter. Surprisingly, after serving as a POW in Salisbury, Aldrich moved to North Carolina in 1877, and he states, I find that the old Confederate soldiers are the best friends that I have, and mentions that he even married a full blooded Johnny Reb. Aldrich does discuss working with a painter down south who guarded prisoners at Salisbury. He relates a story told by the old prison guard about going to a mill to get a gallon of corn meal, and seeing the grain that was being ground up for the prisoners, which was actually mixed with broken glass. In response to this story, Aldrich states: There is many things that Old Jeff Davis will have to answer for. Overall, a very interesting letter about a POW's experiences.

Condition:Blade is covered in grease and in excellent condition. Knuckle bow is dented and two small stress cracks. Scabbard still retaining most of the lacquered brown finish, Brass fittings with most of the gold gilt. Remaining portions of archive in good condition, sace for the Record book of the 11th OVI Hospital, which lacks cover, and contains several pages covered with mud or foxing.

Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$3,173
06/11/2010

 

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