Artifacts - Hierlooms Feed

Handmade Confederate Playing Cards

Handmade Confederate Playing Cards,  The Perkins Gallery, Duke University

During the fair-weather campaign season, soldiers could expect to be engaged in battle one day out of 30. Their remaining days were filled with almost interminable drilling, punctuated with spells of entertainment in the form of music, cards and other forms of gambling. -The Civil War Trust Life of the Civil War Soldier in Camp 

Cards from the St. Clair Dearing Papers

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

Lincoln's coat


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 It has not been on display since 2011 and will be only for a short time this spring.

In 1865, Abraham Lincoln ordered an overcoat for his second inauguration from the clothing company Brooks Brothers.

Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, is an American institution - a ready-made clothing manufacturer located in New York. The company was a key player in the uniform business of the civil war. Situated in the heart of the city, the building was nearly destroyed during the earlier draft riots.

Lincoln was a frequent customer of Brooks Brothers and in honor of his second inauguration, and as a promotion for the store, they made him a very special, elaborate overcoat. The coat was displayed in the Brooks Brothers store window as advertisement before finally being presented to Mr. Lincoln.

The spectacular overcoat is a double-breasted coat made of the fine wool with silk edging around the outside of the collar, cuffs and pockets. Almost the entire inside of the coat is hand-quilted.

The right and left interior front panels feature the design of an eagle symbol holding two streamers with the words “One Country, One Destiny”.

Continue reading "Lincoln's coat" »

150-year old Confederate diary gives up its secrets to volunteer code breaker

James Gandy, libarian for the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. displays the text of the 150-year old diary kept by Confederate Army Lt. James Malbone. Malbone wrote parts of the diary in a home-made code to keep private...

Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (Oct. 8, 2014) --A university professor who is also a former government code breaker, and a retired college financial aid director teamed up to transcribe and decode the secrets in a 150-year-old Confederate diary discovered in the collections of the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The Military Museum is administered by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, the state agency which oversees the New York Army and Air National Guard.

Written in 1863 and 1864, by Confederate Army Lt. James Malbone, an officer in Company B, 6th Virginia Infantry, the diary records information about Soldiers in his unit, items he's bought and sold, his African-American slaves, the faithlessness of other officers' wives, Confederate deserters, women, and military movements.

Continue reading "150-year old Confederate diary gives up its secrets to volunteer code breaker" »

Gettysburg Mystery - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's family

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- Painting Of His Three Daughters Found On Gettysburg Battlefield

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the poet was 58. His poems were popular throughout the English-speaking world, and they were widely translated, making him the most famous American of his day. His admirers included Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, and Charles Baudelaire. 

This copy, plus frame, of Thomas Buchanan Read’s painting of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s three daughters was found at Gettysburg after the July 1-3, 1863 battle. It was not found on, or close to, any soldier’s body, so no one knows who was carrying it. The three children are Alice (top), born September 22, 1850, Edith (left), born October 22, 1853, and Anne Allegra, born November 8, 1855.

Maine Historical Society-

Civil War general's Medal of Honor discovered inside book at church sale

Chamberlain Medal of Honor
Joshua Chamberlain's original Medal of Honor (Courtesy Pejepscot Historical Society)  Fox News

A Medal of Honor awarded to a Civil War general has been returned to a Maine town after it was found inside a book at a church fundraising sale.

The Times Record of Brunswick, Maine reports Civil War Gen. Joshua Chamberlain's original Congressional Medal of Honor has been verified as authentic after it was sent anonymously in July to the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick.

The society at first was skeptical, as they believed Chamberlain's Medal of Honor was already on display at Bowdoin College.

However, that medal was one re-issued to Chamberlain by Congress when the medal was redesigned in 1904, and recipients could either exchange the old medal for the new or keep both. Chamberlain apparently chose to keep both, though he could not wear them at the same time. 

Chamberlain received the original medal in 1893 for his heroism at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. 

It had been given to his granddaughter, whose estate was donated to the First Parish Church of Duxbury, Mass., following her death in 2000.

Someone found the medal in the pages of a book bought from the church at a fundraising sale, and sent it anonymously to the historical society.

“There is photographic evidence that Chamberlain was very proud of the medal, that he wore it quite often,” Pejepscot Historical Society Director Jennifer Blanchard tells the Times Record.

The Brunswick home where Chamberlain lived more than 50 years is now a museum.

Read more: Fox News

Southern Cross of Honor

Imagine finding a relic at a yard sale?! 

(September 2013 Civil War News article

PETERSBURG, Va. – A Southern Cross of Honor that turned up at a Northern Virginia garage sale has been donated to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier at Pamplin Historical Park.
Yard sale browser Hazel Alvey of Dumfries, Va., recognized the small object a sale table was more than a trinket. It was the medal awarded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to Confederate soldiers. 

The Norfolk Chapter of the UDC gave Pvt. Solon Deakins the medal in 1903. Alvey purchased it for $10 and then contacted Mary Schaller, third vice president and historian of the UDC’s Fairfax Chapter 1410, who accepted it as a donation.

In seeking a permanent home for the medal, Schaller asked fellow UDC member Harriet Hunt for suggestions. Hunt, an active member of Pamplin Historical Park, suggested the park. Executive director A. Wilson Greene accepted the medal in July. 

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Thomas Cox (CSA)

Campbell County resident Thomas Cock joined his hometown unit, the Red House Volunteers, at the beginning of the war. His Confederate service was as a member of Co. A, 21st Virginia Infantry. Service was hard under Jackson, Lee and Early, and he barely survived the destruction of the Stonewall Brigade at Spotsylvania in 1864. At some point he was given, perhaps through the efforts of army chaplains or General Jackson himself, this pocket testament which was printed in Atlanta in 1862. 

His luck ran out in July, 1864, at Monocacy Junction, Maryland. 

Unable to write well due to the nature of his wound, Ward Master H.S. Shepherd of West's Hospital, Baltimore, gently assisted Private Cock when he inscribed the following passages in the Testament:

Cover: "Thomas Cox / Morris Church / Carroll County, Va. / Co. A / 21 Va." (Morris Church was actually in eastern Campbell County, near its border with Charlotte County).
"The ball that struck this book entered my left brest (sic) and came out of right -- it saved instant death & will be the means of saving my soul. Thomas Cox. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."

"I was with Thos. Cox when he died...he was willing...& appeared ready to leave this world for a better one to come. H.S. Shepherd, w.m. West's Hospital Baltimore."

Private Cock never left Maryland. He was buried in Loudoun Cemetery in Baltimore. His testament and a ring from his finger was carefully sent by Shepherd to Cock's widow in Southside Virginia.

From: Defending the Heritage on Face Book

Civil War Base Ball

Just in time for opening day!

Organized baseball has been played in America since before the Civil War. The game evolved from bat and ball games brought to the “new country” during the 17th and early 18th centuries. From the late 1850s throughout the 1860s, baseball exploded in popularity and became, as Walt Whitman famously said, “Our game…America’s game, [with the] snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.”

During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and even amid the horrors of war, soldiers sometimes found opportunities to play on the vast open fields where they needed only a bat, a ball, and a few willing participants.

This ball was found and retrieved in 1862 in Shiloh, in southwestern Tennessee, on the grounds of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The ball is inscribed: “Picked Up on the Battle Field at Shiloh by G.F. Hellum.” Giles Hellum was an African-American who worked as an orderly for the Union Army at Shiloh. He later enlisted as a soldier in the 69th Colored Infantry.

The artifact is a “lemon peel ball,” looser and softer than today’s baseballs, and it is hand-stitched in a figure 8 pattern with thick twine. 

Along with other artifacts, this rare ball will be unveiled on Opening Day this year at the new online baseball museum and

From The

Confederate Hair Relic

Hair Relic
An arrangement of artificial flowers fashioned from the hair of Confederate heroes is affixed to a satin backing in this so-called National relic. Jeannetta E. Conrad of Harrisonburg, Virginia, constructed this piece in the midst of the Civil War, using strands of hair that she obtained through the help of Mrs. Robert E. Lee.

In the Victorian era women frequently made relics out of hair and wire to commemorate the beloved dead. In this case, Conrad created a kind of shrine to the Confederacy and its key figures, most, if not all of whom, were still alive.

The diagram at the left notes the people included in this piece—among them are President Jefferson Davis, at top, Virginia governor John Letcher and his wife, General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee, as well as beloved generals such as J. E. B. Stuart and Turner Ashby, who was killed near Harrisonburg on June 6, 1862.

Original Author: Jeannetta E. Conrad
Created: ca. 1862–1863
Medium: Hair relic
Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, photography by Katherine Wetzel

From the Encyclopedia of Virginia