Gettysburg scores big donation of artifacts

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 29, 2016 10:52 AM

Photo by Hanover Evening Sun

(Gettysburg) -- The Gettysburg National Battlefield will be adding to its archives of Civil War artifacts.

Craig Bashein, a member of the board of directors of the Gettysburg Foundation has donated much of his collection, with the hope it helps enhance the story of the Civil War for visitors to the battlefield.

The donations include the dress uniform, leather boots, gold spurs, pistol and presentation sword of a brigade and division commander in the 3rd Corps who served during the three day battle in 1863.

A group of diaries, a hand-drawn map, and some documents about strategy at Gettysburg sent from one Union General to another are also among the items.

The full list of donations is below:

· A Model 1851 Colt Navy Revolver presented to Alexander Webb by Colonel Samuel Colt. This presentation Colt pistol adds to the significant Alexander Webb collection that Mr. Bashein previously donated to Gettysburg National Military Park. General Alexander Webb commanded the Philadelphia Brigade at Gettysburg and defended the Angle during Pickett's Charge. Webb was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism and valor at Gettysburg.

· The bullet-struck Model 1850 foot officer's sword of Colonel Orlando Smith of the 73rd Ohio Infantry. Carried at Gettysburg, the sword was struck by a bullet at the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Mr. Bashein revealed that Col. Smith considered it his "lucky sword because it saved his life and deflected the bullet" and that "Col. Smith carried the sword with him throughout the war."

· A grouping of diaries belonging to Samuel A. Fisher of the 14th Vermont Infantry. Fisher was wounded in action during the battle of Gettysburg.

· The hand-drawn map of Rappahannock River Crossings made and signed by General John F. Reynolds in the early part of the Gettysburg campaign. General Reynolds was killed on Day 1 of the battle of Gettysburg.

· A grouping of documents from General Gouverneur K. Warren to General Daniel Butterfield (General George G. Meade's Chief of Staff) relative to operations in the Gettysburg campaign.

· Dozens of individual documents pertaining to the Gettysburg battle and campaign, written by soldiers and civilians on both sides including soldiers from iconic infantry regiments like the 26th North Carolina; 54th North Carolina; 16th Georgia; 20th Maine; 140th New York; 12th, 16th and 19th Massachusetts; 14th Vermont; and 114th Pennsylvania.

· A 43-page letter from E.J. Allen (which is the pen name of Allan J. Pinkerton, first head of the United States Secret Service), containing details about the fortification around Richmond.

· The lead bullet removed by Dr. Alfred Hamilton from Confederate General William Barksdale at the Hummelbaugh House, where Dr. Hamilton ran a field hospital, along with the surgical instruments he used during his care and treatment of General Barksdale. Dr. Hamilton, a surgeon with the 148th Pennsylvania Infantry, treated General Barksdale in the hours before the General's death. Also included in this grouping is Dr. Hamilton's handwritten war time diary detailing his experiences during the war including his interactions and treatment of General Barksdale at Gettysburg.

· A large original oil painting by renowned modern Civil War artist Mort Kunstler The Grandest Charge Ever Seen By Mortal Man depicting General Barksdale's charge at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.

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