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  • War Department General Order No. 390: Hospitals for Blacks.

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    This is an interesting General Order that seems bizarre in today's world! Completely separate hospitals for Black Union soldiers! And to top it off, the white women who caretake for them are paid more! Which leads us to ponder: Wasn't the Union side actually "fighting to help free the slaves"? This demonstrates the bizarre, ironic thinking of many Unionists at the time. Private letters from this period often contain derrogatory references to the black by the same Union troopers who were allegedly campaigning to free the oppressed peoples. What an unusal mix of attitudes and beliefs! Yet, in fact, there were some blacks who fought as soldiers for the Confederacy which was supposedly trying to preserve slavery as part of their traditions! It seems that the "thinking" in both North & South were much different than now! "General Orders" such as these were regularly released to officials and commanders throughtout the course of the Civil War. They were used by BOTH Northern and Southern central commands in order to keep the armies at-large informed of ongoing administrative, military and legal updates as they occurred. Size: 7 1/2" by x 4 3/4".
    Soon to be Dead at Gettysburg: A Muster Roll of Heroes

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    This is wonderful yet oddly creepy: An original Union army muster sheet that was filed monthly by fighting units in order to update command as to the status of their movements and personnel. This is from June 1863 for the famous G Battery, 4th US Artillery, showing its movements closer and closer to Gettysburg and listing the names of men who would soon be killed on Day One of that conflict. As Gettysburg began, Union troops arrived in a insufficient piecemeal trickle. Those who first met the Confederates were severely outnumbered and ultimately overrun near the end of the first day. This Artillery Battery was positioned north of the city on Barlows Knoll, ultimately losing 17 of its men, including the famous Lt. Bayard Wilkeson, who had his leg mangled by a shell. He cooly lay himself upon a blanket, tied his own waist-sash about the limb, and used his pocket knife to amputate it! He died later that day. His father, a prominent newspaper correspondent was clearly infuriated that little rear-support was given to these poor outnumbered troopers. (But the army was simply strung out too far as it searched vainly for Lee in prior days.) This muster role, signed by the commanding officer, shows all the pay, clothing, condition of each member of the battery from March-June 1863. There's also a section noting the battery's movements: Closer & closer to Gettysburg in late June! Closer and closer to ultimate fate!
    Tin Bullseyed Signal Lantern

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    The classic Civil War signal lantern of japanned tin and a stacked, fluted chimney cap. Large (2 1/2") bulseye lens. Whale oil lamp inside. Knob to slide shutter ("blink" it). 7 1/2" tall. Nice condition. (See old surplus catalog price!)
    A handcarved, wooden Civil War whistle

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    This lovely wooden whistle looks to be made from walnut. It is two inches long and clearly handcarved. A plug in its tip was inserted to keep the wooden ball inside the chamber. It was found with a fife marked "Co.F. Elmyra", but not a particular soldier's name. There was a Union military prison there. It could've belonged to one of the CSA prisoners or Union guards calling the men to order. One sees initials upon it with the date 1864, but that will not help to identify the exact man. None the less, it is a nice period whistle which shows the time and attention soldiers dedicated to making useful items while encamped. It is not a standard field issued item.
    Lead Insulator: Fredericksburg

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    This is Cool!!! A lead telegraph insulator from the winter camps at Fredericksburg area. From 1970's digger's collection. 1 3/4" long. Slight flattened base.
    1862 Tri-Monthly Report of Recruiting Service at Dubuque, Iowa.

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    This is a standard Union form that assesses the recruiting activities in certain locations on a tri-monthly basis. It is from January 10th, 1862 and states that 3 men enlisted in the time period in Dubuque Iowa. It is signed in ink by C. Washington, Capt of 13th Inf.
    1864 Special Order Warning Pickets Not to Turkey Shoot

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    This letter is a Special Order No. 3 which is dated May 25th, 1864 from T. Goodwillie, Lieut & Adjt. to Commanding Colonel W.H. Hayward. It advises officers of Haskins Division at Fort Bunker Hill that complaints have been received from local citizens about straggling troops and random free firing of muskets that could become a danger. Amounts of ammunition are now to be inspected and Court Martials performed for disobedience! The letter is written in hande by Goodville in ink. It is on a long sheet of lined paper. There are splits at several folds. But paper sturdy and very legible. (See all pictures) Text is below: Head Quarters. Haskins Division, Fort Bunker Hill. May 25. 1864. General Order No. 3. I) Several complaints have been made by citizens & residents in the vicinity of the lines occupied he annoyance and depredations committed by men on picket and by those straggling from camp. Commanders of Posts will at once take the most stringent steps to prevent all men of their command from straggling from camp, or from leaving their posts without special authority. No enlistedman or officer on picket duty will leave his post without authority for any reason whatever. The officer of the day will make frequentvisits to all guards and pickets to see that the men are attentive to their duties. II) Complaints have also been made of great annoyance and even danger arising from unauthorized picket firing. No picket firing will be allowed except in case of emergency. The cartridge boxes of the guard will be inspected on going out on duty and an account taken of the amount of ammunition contained therein, and the same inspection on coming in from duty and each guard will be required to account for any deficiency. Every violation of this order will subject the offender to trial by Court Martial and the commanding officer of posts will at once forward charges. The importance of guard and picket duty will be fully explained by all commanding officers. By order of W. H. Hayward, Col. com'dg. T. Goodwillie. Lieut & Adjt."
    Great CW Telescope

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    During the Civil War both sides used brass telescopes in both field operations and at sea. Usually made of four or five brass tube-sections that would slide or extend to a full open length, the smaller ones were more common with infantry and larger lengths applied at sea. The main body section was often covered in brown or black leather when made, but often, this has peeled away over the years. These devices often have sliding windows at the eyepiece and separate brass covers to protect the large end-piece of glass. However, they have often been misplaced over the years. It is great fun to go outside and look through these old CW telescopes, wondering whose eye looked through the same lenses during battle in the mid-1800's... This one, in four sections extends to about 19 1/2 inches. It has its original leather cover over the main gripping tube.
    CSA Military Telegram: General moves troops up for Battle

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    Interesting "Confederate States of America Military Telegraph" dated June 28th, 1864, the day before Battle of Ream's Station. The CSA Brigadier Genberal instructs Colonel Whitford to "send Wilson's Battalion to Weldon immediately." Lawrence S. Baker (1830-1907)was Lt. Col. of 9th N.C. Cavalry under Jeb Stuart and made Brig. General for bravery at Brandy Station. He was involved at Second Manassas, Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Savannah & Augusta. Col. John N. Whitford was Field & Staff for NC 67th Infantry. At Ream's Station, the Confederates turned back Union cavalry and blocked Grant's intended advance upon Petersburg. The ultimate cost was great in both men & mounts.
    Surveyor's Plumb Bob

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    This is a rusted, yet solid, plumb bob from an Engineer or Surveyor's equipment. Found in CW camp area. Not many of these to find!
    Provision Return of Co.G, NY 2nd Infantry.

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    This is a blank form listing the rations or provision of Capt. Wm. B. Tibbits, Co.G., 2nd Infantry, NY Volunteers, for ten days. It's 14 x 8 1/2". While men were fighting, dieing, suffering amputations, as well as sepsis and gangrene nearby, the company supply officer or Regimental Quatermaster Sergeant still had to fill-in tediuos official forms to get the proper food and supplies for the remaining mass of troops.
    Officer's Field Telescope from Chancellorsville

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    This four-draw field telescope was found on private land in a battle area near Chancellorsville. This was one of Robert E. Lee's greatest military victories. Field officers, scouts, and cavalry would often employ these small portable scopes for a better view of troop movements across open territory. Usually, these extend fully to 16 inches, but this one is frozen with rust at the closed 6 3/4 inches. Its clouded glass lens are still intact with a partly flattened and roughened body. One is left to wonder whose eye was last held to this instrument and what horrors of battle that very eye did see on the day that it was lost...
    US Military Telegraph between Fort Monroe Ship Captains

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    Dated Aug. 25th, 1864, this United State Military Telegraph sent at Fort Monroe from A.S. Kimball, Captain and Quartermaster to a Captain H.B.Blood who requests coal. (Wow! A real guy named Captain Blood!) It reads: "I have sent you the only cargo of coal in the harbor by Steamer Helen Getty and will send more as soon as it arrives. 8 inches by 5 1/4 inches. It is interesting how they communicated not simply by letter, and courier upon a horse, but by the newly-invented telegraph lines as well. (There were no telephones or use of the airwaves as yet...)
    1861 Enrolled in New Jersey Mercer Brigade

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    A notice to "Wm. S. Yard, dated Trenton July 27th, 1861, announcing his enrollment in Co. K. 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of the Mercer Brigade. Beginning of War before standardized Federal forms were used. Signed by the local Judge Advocate, it measures 7 1/2" by 2 1/2"
    Union Army Requisition Form for Clothing

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    The Union Army had myriads of official forms and papers during the Civil War. Quartermasters and other NCO's were often responsible for keeping supplies in order and flowing into the Regiment as needed. This is one example of a preprinted form with blank spaces which was used to request or requisition supplies (in this case clothing) The form was opened or unfolded to reveal columns of those items needed. Then, the commanding officer often reviewed and signed the form before sending it onward to supply depots. There were many forms: some for medical supplies, others for weapons and even monthly muster rolls that listed who was sick, wounded or killed that month! The forms were usually kept in a quartermaster's desk with many slots.
    1864 Railroad Receipt for Goods

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    Here is a handwritten railroad receipt for 1 bundle of tobacco. It also carries a Union revenue stamp. Besides hauling locally by wagon and along waterways by barges & paddlewheels, the railroad was of prime importance in moving goods. In additions, forces of troops were sped to battle sites by train. Tearing up tracks was an important part of war strategy for both sides.
    Confederate Railways move troops

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    Railroads were a very important new manner of moving troops during the Civil War. Men and supplies could be rushed to an impending battle. As a rule, armies still moved on-the-march because battles were not always practical along the few existing railway routes. But troop movements by train cars were well-applied during the Civil War. So too, reassigned men or those on furlough used the system. Troops often rode for free. Here we see a soldier's train ticket issued by the Richmond & Danville railroad, for the transport of eight soldiers from Richmond to Danville. The ticket was used and therefore was torn in two. Why the troop kept the pieces as a mementoe is a mystery lost in time. But these fragment afford us a glimpse of how travel occurred for men who lived and died at Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Cold Harbor...Note that the back of the ticket attests that the ticket is issued on a requisition from the assisant Quartermaster of the Confederate states at Richmond, Va. who "promises" to reimburse the cost to the RR.
    1862 Commision to Brooklyn City Guard 13 Regt

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    This is an 1862 "commission" for Joseph McIntyre as a member of Company G, 13 th Regiment New York "Brooklyn City Guard". Very nice ink-signed item. Would look great framed. Approx. 11 1/2" by 9".
    Confederate Aqua Telegraph Line Insulator

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    This is a rare aqua glass Confederate insulator for telegraph lines during the Civil War. Most of these have been broken or discarded. This one is nearly intact. Found in Richmond area. It is quite rare and highly prized by insulator collectors.