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A Gettysburg Survivor

Discussion in 'Civil War Uniforms & Relics' started by Legion Para, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Legion Para

    Legion Para 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    post-151929-0-35010100-1401513282.jpg
    Many Civil War uniforms have survived the ravages of time, but actual uniforms worn in battle are another matter. Meet a Gettysburg survivor.

    https://www.bidsquare.com/l/65/shell-jacket-worn-battle-gettysburg-henry-h-stone


    Shell Jacket Worn at the Battle of Gettysburg by Henry H. Stone,
    Lot #: 65

    Sergeant Henry H. Stone’s "Lucky Coat." An impeccably documented one-of-a-kind federal-issue infantry jacket actually worn in numerous battles including Gettysburg by Sergeant Henry H. Stone, Company I., 11th Massachusetts, Army of the Potomac.

    In the fall of 1861 following Bull Run, the 11th Mass. orBoston Regiment changed from state gray fatigue clothing to regulation Federal blue. It is documented that Stone later wore this very same jacket at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Locust Grove before sending it home to his mother in April 1864.

    Piped in faded regulation light-blue with original sergeant’s chevrons, the wool jacket has custom- made breast pocket. With a plaid, wool flannel lining. No buttons survive. Writing home Stone referred to the battle weary garment as his "lucky coat" having survived combat in at least five major engagements through early 1864. Patched on the left sleeve, the uniform shows evidence of Stone’s "slight wound" at Gettysburg where military records confirm he was grazed in the arm by a bullet on July 2nd during the Confederate assault that threw the over-extended 3rd Corps out of the Peach Orchard.

    Along with a CDV of Stone, this is the identical coat shown lower right of p.125 in the Time-Life book Echoes of Glory, Arms and Equipment of the Union. The coat survives because Henry Stone was persuaded to part with his "lucky jacket" sending it home to his mother in Charleston, Massachusetts from winter camp near Brady Station. In an accompanying letter dated April 1, 1864, provenance sold with the coat, Stone wrote, "...you wish for me to send home any of my clothes that I may have worn in the Battle of Gettysburg, I will do so at once... I will send you my "Jacket" worn in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Wapping Heights—also Locust Grove."

    After nearly three years of foot-slogging service as a Federal infantryman Sergeant Stone was only a month short of being discharged when cruel fate intervened. At Spotsylvania Court House the 11th Massachusetts was part of Hancock’s 2nd Corps occupying an ominous position that would come to be known as the "Bloody Angle." Captured on May 12, 1864, Stone would live to regret parting with his "lucky coat" as he somehow miraculously survived imprisonment in the hellish confines of Andersonville prison. Henry later recalled, "...I became a captive with others in what was General Hancock’s charge…the extreme right of the line. We were ordered on to the works, and some of us found ourselves in a trap with nothing to do but surrender or be shot down... We surrendered and six terrible months began for me right off. It was pretty hard on a man who saw home so near, but such is the luck of war."

    Stone lost his hearing during his lengthy imprisonment and took to writing a diary – one of the most famous and well-renowned works of literature to come out of Andersonville — that now resides in the National Prisoner of War Museumat that National Historic Site. Henry escaped death at Andersonville thanks to a prisoner exchange on December 10, 1864 and mustered out of service on February 18, 1865.

    Genuine examples of Civil War enlisted infantry uniforms are extraordinarily rare and this truly historic coat with impeccable provenance is quite frankly unprecedented. The jacket and plethora of related material was acquired directly from Henry Stone’s great-granddaughter by noted Civil War collector James Stamatelos in 1970 and the original letter conveying the coat is included. The coat passed from the Stamatelos Collection to a third party and then to our consignor.

    Also included is an early carte of Henry Stone, two original manuscript letters to his mother dated 1861 and 1864,National Archives military and pension records, the Time-Life book featuring the jacket, plus 50 pages of associated documentation relating to Stone along with a complete transcript of his Andersonville diary highlighted by an old newspaper interview recounting his “Andersonville Memories.”

    Not yet 24, Henry Stone returned to South Boston living there until the bugle played last call on March 11, 1892. Post-war, Henry became active in Charleston’s Dahlgren GAR Post #2, a participant in the upwardly mobile veteran’s movement and patriotic regimental reunions that shaped the last decades of the 19th century America. No surprise that Henry also served on the planning committee that ultimately dedicated the 11th Massachusetts monument on the Emmittsburg Road in Gettysburg — his scrap book is full of battle anecdotes.

    According to his great-granddaughter, recounted at the time by James Stamatelos, Henry-the-veteran didn’t speak of his experiences in the "rebellion" very much. She did say that on every Memorial Day, Henry would once again wear his jacket to honor that which he and his comrades had done for their country — this "lucky" blue coat, tangible and permanently imbued with the sacrifice of a long ago generation.


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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2017

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  3. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    This jacket went to auction not very long ago, I'll try and find the auction catalog, but I believe it sold for $60k plus, I stand corrected, it went for $57,316 along with a CDV and an 1864 diary. I've posted a picture of Stone, most likely very early war, as he is wearing regulation federal dark blue trousers and canvas/leather camp shoes. Please note, he is not wearing the round about/half jacket, but a sack coat, indicating that he had yet to acquire his tailored threads.
     

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  4. bdtex

    bdtex Sergeant Major Member of the Month

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    Too bad about the buttons. Woulda been nice if they were still on it. Wonder what happened to 'em?
     
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  5. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com First Sergeant Forum Host

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    They were more than likely used for ear bobs and other trinkets, The first Confederate uniform I bought back in the 70's was a CS Cav Majors frock coat and it didn't have a button on it and I ask the lady I got it from what happen to them and she said that she and sister cut them off to make ear bobs and pins. The price paid for that Gettysburg coat was up in the CS uniform range.
     
  6. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Many buttons were given away as keepsakes, particularly on southern uniforms where, after the war, it was illegal to display any insignia associated with the Confederacy. The Samuel Bond frock coat (1st Maryland CSA Cav), now in the possession of the Gettysburg National Park, is a prime example, all of the buttons and sleeve knots have been painted with black paint to obscure their affiliation. I was lucky enough to view the piece just after it was purchased at auction from the family. When in public and wearing a uniform you either had to remove or otherwise obscure any item affiliated with the Confederacy. Being the case, many Confederates gave away buttons as keep sakes and would re-sew either US or wooden buttons on their jackets and caps.

    Robert E Lee, continued to wear his uniform after the war, minus military buttons, they were later found in a corner of his trunk wrapped in newspaper by Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Lee, Robert E_3a.jpg when she was called upon the catalog the contents.
     
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  7. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    Nice post there airborne.
     
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  8. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    I love this jacket and have always wondered if he had his regulation frock tailored to come up with a shell jacket type garment. The lining, sleeves and total make up appear as if he did just that and had a pocket sewn in as well. I never had a chance to view the coat in person.
     
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  9. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck First Sergeant

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    Even after 150 years the unmistakeable beautiful deep blue of real indigo never fades.
    Another telling detail is the very pronounced diagonal weave in the wool fabric which was common to uniform pieces (not in frock coat broadcloth, which is entirely different )
    Hard to match today.
     
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  10. JohnW.

    JohnW. Sergeant

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    It is remarkable that it looks so good after all this time considering what it went through.
     
  11. Grayrock Volunteer

    Grayrock Volunteer Corporal

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    I don't believe this is a "jacket" per se, but rather a modified frock coat.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Garrett
     
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  12. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck First Sergeant

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    Interesting observation. What makes you think so? There's no evidence of chest padding and the jacket opening is cut on a curve not straight like a frock.
     
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  13. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck First Sergeant

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    Interesting observation. What makes you think so? There's no evidence of chest padding and the jacket opening is cut on a curve not straight like a frock. Cuffs and collar are frock-ish.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  14. Michael W.

    Michael W. Sergeant

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    I saw this jacket in person at the Gettysburg CW relics show a few months before Cowan's auctioned it. They had it on open display there to generate more interest for the upcoming sale. I was allowed to examine it, even touch it. There nothing quite like being able to touch history....
     
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  15. JPChurch

    JPChurch Private

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    Yes, the 11th MA was one of those Union regiments that sported grey militia uniforms at 1rst Manassas. The "Boston Volunteers" Regt. was organized by George Clark Jr. (I am descendant of his brother Appleton Prentiss Clark) This pic shown attached of Clark may have been taken in Brady's Washington D.C. studio some time after arriving there in late June 1861. He appears to being wearing the dark blue Federal uniform as Colonel in command of the 11th MA. Clark was wounded pretty bad during the Confederate counter- assault that afternoon while in support of Rickett's battery on the slopes of Henry Hill. From what I've found out after digging deeper in his history, he made it back (along with the other wounded during the "Skedaddle") via wagon though Centreville, Fairfax and finally to Alexandria. Treated for his wounds, Clark returned to Boston and was discharged for disability in Oct. 1861 and no longer served in the Union army during the rest of the War. He was later active in the War Relief Society during the Great Struggle and became a member of the GAR after the War. img001 (3).jpg
     
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  16. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Officer frocks were of better material and had chest padding, the regulation issue frock for enlisted did not, or very little. This example, in my opinion, is a cut down and tailored enlisted frock. The lining is identical, with exception of lining material of polished cotton, I suspect he wanted a little more substance. Officer's frocks were private purchase and generally had a green polished cotton lining throughout, with padding in the chest area and belting around the inside waist.

    The curve is consistent with the cut of the regulation frock and I suspect that since the frock was worn as a preference and dress parade, in addition to at least an annual issuance, Stone had more than one and decided to have one tailored.

    picture of the inside of a regulation frock attached: inside regulation frock.jpg
     
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  17. Grayrock Volunteer

    Grayrock Volunteer Corporal

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    It comes down to 1 of 2 possible options for this coat. It is either a modified frock, or a private purchase jacket.

    Functional cuffs are not a feature commonly found on US jackets, save SA Arsenal infantry jackets. The piping, number of buttons, and external pockets do not align with features of a SA jacket. Furthermore, jackets typically have a fully lined body, while this garment has linings in the sleeves and chest/side pieces only.

    The trim arrangement is typical of M1858 frocks, as is the number of buttons, 9. The lining arrangement is also correct for a frock. The functional cuffs are also typical enlisted frock features. But to me the real kicker is the bottom edge of the coat. The bottom 2 inches or so is a separate skirt that is attached to the body of the jacket. The bottom button hole is positioned square on the seam that joins the two sections, in exactly the same manner as an issue coat. The extra piece is something I would never expect to find on a private purchase jacket, and strongly indicates that the coat is in fact a trimmed down frock.

    I have attached a photo that shows what appears to me to be the remnants of wadding in the left front breast piece. The lining is slightly deceptive, as it covers the side panel of the body in addition to the chest.


    stone jacket.jpg


    Regulations call for black alpaca lining in the chest if I'm not mistaken, but given the number of war time produced frocks and the number of contractors making them, a cheaper cotton lining is not unsurprising.

    Here is a good link to some additional photos of the jacket. http://14-virginia-cavalry.myrealbo...t-worn-at-the-battle-of-gettysburg-by-henry-h
    Notice on the picture of the back how the center two pieces come all the way down to the bottom edge of the coat and that the "extension" piece stops on either side of them. This is consistent with the way in which frocks are made, with the center back pieces cut to incorporate the tails of the coat as well.

    Cheers,
    Garrett
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  18. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    A view of a very high grade officers frock coat interior lining:
     

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  19. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    I'm wondering if that is wadding or deteriorated remains of the tailored pocket interior. I just checked and all of the arsenal jackets that I have (4) have functional cuffs, while the J T Martin jacket has non functional. Also one of the Cincinnati Arsenal jackets has a very slick pocket between the lining and the exterior, similar to a sack coat interior pocket but less conspicuous due to the heavy lining.
     
  20. Package4

    Package4 Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Lining material for enlisted frocks was brown polished cotton, originally called out as alpaca, but supply was very inconsistent and as the war ramped up cotton was the lining used for most clothing, even women's dresses and kepi/forage cap linings. Brown polished cotton was a special kind of cotton fabric that was impregnated with wax. This kind of lining formed an inner shield on the garment, keeping body odors and sweat from staining the fabric of the dress or coat.
     

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