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Civil War Frock Coat Identified to 1st Lieut. Henry S. Hitchcock, Co. A., 21st Mass.

Navy blue wool nine-button single-breasted coat with unusual piped pocket on outside of right chest. Three button non-servicable cuffs.  Original first lieutenant's shoulder straps are navy material with bullion border having single bar rank insignia.  Buttons are marked "Extra Quality" with all buttons attached by inside ring. Skirt is 18" to rough edge and 9" bell shaped elbows. Coat with typical dark olive green lining with white lined sleeves.  Right shoulder is marked in ink "H.S. Hitchcock".  This is Henry Sparhawk Hitchcock, 21st Massachusetts who was promoted to 1st Lieut. on April 26, 1863 making this a mid-war frock coat. Wide quilted pattern in chest with close quilted pattern underarms.  Piped inside left chest pocket.  Back of coat has three seams that lead to center vent. Center vent has two buttons at top and middle of vent.

Henry Sparhawk Hitchcock of Templeton, Massachusetts joined Co. A, 21st Mass. as Sergeant on July 19, 1861 and served with the regiment until it literally fought itself out of existence in August 1864. Initially, the regiment was assigned to Burnside’s Expeditionary Corps and the Dept. of North Carolina, seeing early action at Roanoke, New Burn and Camden. The Bay Stater’s then joined the 9th Corps, Army of the Potomac and were solidly engaged at 2nd Bull Run and Chantilly where the 21st suffered heavy casualties. Several weeks later the regiment fought at South Mountain and Antietam and just afterwards Hitchcock was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on September 25, 1862. The 21st was in the thick of the fighting at Fredericksburg helping to carry Burnside Bridge with significant losses. After a short respite the regiment transferred to Kentucky joining the 23rd Corps and was assigned to the defense of Knoxville during Longstreet’s brutal winter siege. On April 26, 1863 Henry Hitchcock was promoted 1st Lieutenant.

The regiment then veteranized and reverted to the 9th Corps, Army of the Potomac following furlough. The 21st had been much reduced and returned to field duty numbering slightly more than 200 all ranks. The regiment marched with Grant into the bloodletting of the Overland Campaign and suffered from purposeful attrition in the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and the Bethesda Church with a grim determination. The regiment then transferred to the Petersburg front and participated in the chaos known as battle of the Crater on July 30. Here, Lieutenant Hitchcock was wounded. He remained in service month while recuperating and mustered out August 31, 1864. By August the 21st Massachusetts had been reduced to a battalion of three under-strength companies. Still, the battalion persevered and was committed to combat at the Weldon Railroad and Poplar Springs Church. The remnants were soon consolidated out of existence by GO dated October 21, 1864, forced to merge with the under strength 36th Massachusetts. The price of glory was 159 officers and men killed and mortally wounded.

Henry Hitchcock returned home and lived the rest of his life in Fitchburg joining GAR Post #19 (Edwin V. Sumner) and answering the final roll call on December 7, 1897.

Provenance:Turner 1999 to Consignor.

Condition:Mothing on front and back of shoulders and collar with a hole on collar. Moth hole on right sleeve. Period repair holes on left elbow.  Mothing on right and left skirt. Mothing and moth holes on back of right and left skirt. Inside lining show wearing underarms and chest. Overall condition is good.

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$4,406
05/01/2014

 

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