Glass bottle, 6 x 2 in., containing a 4.125 in. splinter of wood and 6.125 x 1.125 in. red cotton woven cloth. Hand-written label states "Splinter from Mast of U.S./REV. CUTTER Harriet Lane/knocked off by a solid sh[ot]/fired by Conf[e]derate [torn]/in Pig Point Battery, o[torn]/Newport News June 5/1861 and picked up by/Frank H.Pulsifer." Secondary description reads "Piece of Flag flown over Fort Sumter during defense by Major Anderson and/following Summer/4.13.186/taken on boar[d]/steamer B[torn]/This Piece[torn]/med from [torn]/and prese[nted]/Frank [torn]/of the con[torn]/Harriet L[ane]."
The United States Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane engaged a small force of Confederate infantry and shore batteries at Pig Point on June 5, 1861, five miles east of Newport News, Virginia. General Benjamin Butler, then commander of Fort Monroe, ordered Captain John Faunce to engage the Confederate forces at Pig Point in order to observe their strength. However, shallow water did not allow for the Harriet Lane to come within effective firing distance, and as a result the bombardment was mostly ineffective. Reports were inconsistent as to the number of shots fired, with some sources claiming the cutter fired thirty shots and others claiming thirty-three. In either case, the Confederates succeeded in wounding five Federal sailors, and, considering his mission concluded, Captain Faunce returned to port. Pig Point would remain in Confederate hands until it was abandoned in April 1862.
Provenance:From the Collection of Peter Wainwright, Jr.
Paper label appears to be stable with good legibility and color remaining. Glass bottle shows no cracks or chips. Some threads pulling from cloth sample.
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