Sword Presented to Capt. William S. Diller, 76th Pennsylvania Volunteers a Week After the Attack on Battery Wagner, with Regimental Archive

33.5" slightly curved single-edged spear point blade with 23.5" stopped median fuller. 5.25" iron hilt with cut iron guard with a spread winged eagle motif, grooved wood grip covered in shagreen with 8 wraps of double strand twisted brass wire. Peterson 75 pattern "Non Regulation" imported staff & field officer's sword. Blade etched FITCH / & / WALDO / NEW YORK on obverse ricasso, and with CLAUBERG / SOLINGEN in an oval around a standing knight. Obverse blade etched with spread-winged eagle surrounded by sunburst rays with gold gilt highlights and the reverse etched with a US surrounded by foliate boarders. Steel scabbard with iron mounts and two suspension rings. Obverse scabbard etched with a presentation between the upper and middle mounts that reads: Presented to / Capt. Wm. S. Diller / Co. D 76th PA Vol. Infy. / By the non commissioned officers / And privates of his company / Morris Island, S.C. / July 25, 1863.

William S. Diller of York County, PA was commissioned into the 76th PA Infantry as a 2nd Lt. on October 16, 1861. During his service he was promoted to 1st Lt., then Captain on November 7, 1862 and finally Major on June 12, 1864. On June 12, 1864 he was transferred from his command of Company D to the regimental staff, no doubt the event that promoted the presentation of this staff & field officer's sword by his men. The 76th Pennsylvania spent the first part of their Civil War career in South Carolina, including operations on James Island, taking part in the Battle of Secessionville, the attacks on Morris Island and the attack on Battery Wagner depicted in the film GLORY. The regiment was returned to the Virginia theater of operations in 1864, where they fought at Cold Harbor, proceeded to Petersburg and were part of the Battle of the Crater after the mine explosion. The regiment then returned to the Carolinas, where they were part of the assault on Fort Fisher, the capture of Wilmington and the final campaign against the Army of Tennessee, culminating in Johnston's surrender near Raleigh.

Lot also includes extensive regimental archive relating to the service of the 76th.  Archive features three books; Marching Orders, The Civil War Diary of Alexander Crawford Gwin of Company F; Soldiers of Blair County Pennsylvania by Floyd Hoenstine; and 76th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry by Sgt. John A Porter of Company B.

Also includes a wide range of reproduced letters, photographs, and official documents as well as seven original letters written by Corporal Joseph Higgins of Company G, detailing his experiences while serving with the regiment just prior to their deployment to South Carolina.  Corporal Higgins' letters detail the experiences shared by countless Civil War veterans, including the illnesses of camp, lack of pay, and the general uncertainly of a soldier's life. Higgins would not survive to see the end of the war, being discharged on a surgeon's certificate in March of 1862 and dying in October that same year.  In one letter dated December 1861, Higgins mentions that a "cold settled in on my breast," which may well have developed into the condition that would take his life.  A Polaroid photo of his grave as well as an official document locating his grave are also included.

Provenance:From the Collection of Roger Hamilton


Good. Blade with a dull pewter patina. Etching remains clear and visible. Hilt with an oxidized patina, grip with some wear and minor loss, pin missing from langets along spine. Scabbard oxidized, with scattered dents. Presentation remains clearly legible.  A well-researched and compiled archive that deserves a place in any serious collection of Pennsylvania military history.  

Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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