Act of Kindness: Captured Sword of Col. Francis A Walker Returned by Tige Anderson 1880

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lelliott19

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Anderson and Walker.JPG


In August of 1864, Francis Amasa Walker was a Colonel serving as Adjutant-General on the staff of Winfield Scott Hancock. George Thomas "Tige" Anderson was Brigadier General of Anderson's Brigade, Field's Division, Longstreet's Corps, ANV. His brigade consisted of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 59th Georgia. Jacob W. Scott was a young Private in Company K 9th Georgia Infantry, serving on "extra duty" as a scout.

On August 26, 1864, Pvt. Cobb captured Colonel Walker at Ream's Station and turned the captured sword over to Brig Gen Anderson.* Cobb later described it as a "very fine sword" and Tige Anderson called it "a splendid sword."**

Tige Anderson carried the sword for the rest of the war. Sixteen years later, in 1880, Anderson was serving as the Chief of Police in Atlanta, Georgia when he sent the sword, along with a note to Walker, who was at the time, serving as head of the US Census Department in Washington, DC:

Atlanta, Ga.
Col. Francis A. Walker, Adjutant-General U.S.A.
Dear Sir:
At the engagement at Ream's Station, in August, 1864, between the Hancock Corps and the Confederate troops, by the fortunes of war, you were made a prisoner and deprived of arms. Your sword came into my possession, and I wore it from that time until the surrender at Appomattox. I prized it highly as a memento of a severe engagement; but its value was doubly enhanced its coming from a corps from which we had received more hard knocks than trophies. I have endeavored to keep its blade as bright as when it came into my possession, and I flatter myself that its lustre was never dimmed by an unsoldierly act of mine. Giving you credit for as pure a patriotism in your defense of the Stars and Stripes as I claim for myself in my support of the Stars and Bars, and appreciating a soldier's love for his arms, it affords me sincere pleasure to return this sword to your possession, which I would have done long since had I known your address.
Very respectfully and truly yours.
George F [T] Anderson
Ex-Brig.-Gen. C.S.A.
Anderson returns the sword of Col Francis A Walker 1880.JPG

The letter appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune., September 20, 1880, Page 7.
* More on the circumstances of Walker's capture available at Beyond the Crater
**Source of additional info: The Weekly Constitution. (Atlanta, Ga.), August 17, 1880, page 3.

Anybody know where this particular sword is today? @Lanyard Puller @Richard E. Schenk @Grayrock Volunteer @Glen_C @Package4 @ucvrelics.com @Western Reserve Volunteer @Jobe Holiday @johan_steele
 
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Glen_C

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Oh, that Walker! A search dead ends pretty quickly in looking at his activity after the war. I have a hunch it is either in the MIT Walker Memorial building or with someone in the family. 1880 would likely have found him somewhat bemused in receiving the sword and likely not at home when the item was delivered. From reading some of his bio, 1880 was a busy time for him.

I could speculate that it was an Ames 1850 foot officer sword. My hunch is that it was a serviceable sword bought when they mustered and his hometown in central Massachusetts. In one book he penned about the war, he never writes about his own sword.
https://archive.org/details/historyofseconda01walk

Cheers
GC
 
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lelliott19

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Oh, that Walker! A search dead ends pretty quickly in looking at his activity after the war. I have a hunch it is either in the MIT Walker Memorial building or with someone in the family. 1880 would likely have found him somewhat bemused in receiving the sword and likely not at home when the item was delivered. From reading some of his bio, 1880 was a busy time for him.

I could speculate that it was an Ames 1850 foot officer sword. My hunch is that it was a serviceable sword bought when they mustered and his hometown in central Massachusetts. In one book he penned about the war, he never writes about his own sword.
https://archive.org/details/historyofseconda01walk

Cheers
GC
Would an Ames 1850 foot officer's sword have been described as:
Cobb later described it as a "very fine sword" and Tige Anderson called it "a splendid sword."
I guess I just assumed it would have been something quite special since Anderson described it as "splendid?"
 
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OldReliable1862

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Does anyone know how Anderson's nickname was pronounced? Is it said "taij" (same ending sound as ridge), "tai-gee" (same ending sound as the last name Feige, as in Kevin Feige), or "tai-jee"? Even better, where did it originate?

This is a really cool story, I'd love to see a picture of the sword.
 

lelliott19

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Does anyone know how Anderson's nickname was pronounced? Is it said "taij" (same ending sound as ridge), "tai-gee" (same ending sound as the last name Feige, as in Kevin Feige), or "tai-jee"? Even better, where did it originate?
I always thought it was Tyg - like the first part of the word "tiger" without the -er. Some have speculated that it was indeed short for "tiger" but I am not sure of the origin of the nickname.
I'd love to see a picture of the sword.
Me too! I wonder where it is today? If it is a common model as @Glen_C speculated above, and apparently was not engraved, I suppose it could be anywhere.

Tige did not return the sword until 1880 AFTER Cobb had come forward to identify the man from whom it originated. In The Weekly Constitution. (Atlanta, Ga.), August 17, 1880, page 3, Anderson says:

"I had about forgotten who it belonged to anyhow, and I don't think we will ever need it again. If we do, I presume Walker would lend it to me."

I just LOVE that! and I bet he was right. :smile:

Andersons recollections.JPG
Andersons recollections pt2.JPG

https://www.google.com/search?q=Tige+Anderson+nickname&oq=Tige+Anderson+nickname&aqs=chrome..69i57.8870j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 
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Glen_C

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Would an Ames 1850 foot officer's sword have been described as:

I guess I just assumed it would have been something quite special since Anderson described it as "splendid?"
Imo, I don't read that as describing an extraordinary sword. An Ames would have been as brilliant an etch as a foreign made blade and my own speculation really only regarding local availability. There are, of course, other possibilities and he may have traveled before the muster in order to buy a sword of some note. I do not read a particular fineness in description, simply a clean and serviceable sword. His bio doesn't read as some dandy buying a pimped out sword to be carried in the field.

Contact family descendants, or MIT historians. I'll betcha there is at least some sort of exhibit for him at Walker Hall. If there is a public display, that is where I would start.

Cheers
GC
 

Package4

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Since he (Anderson) references that he had almost forgot who the sword belonged to, would indicate that it was not a presentation sword. Most likely as Glen says, a nice Ames or even Horstman import.

Walker’s pre ACW history might indicate where it originated as well, I’m away from home at present, but he may have had Mexican War service. I’ll research further when I return.
 

TerryB

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At the surrender of Fort Donelson, a LT in the 66th Ill Vols (which I think was then known as the 14th Mo SS) found a captain's commission outside the tent of an indirect ancestor of mine, Capt Henry Pointer (who later served on Forrest's staff). In Pointer's widow's pension app, she included a copy of a letter written in 1884 by the Union officer who found the commission then returned it in 1884. It's a touching letter that I've posted on another thread.
 
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Drumshanbo

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Great story. For those who were wondering, Tige is pronounced "hard" just like the first part of Tiger. The nickname originates from a member of the "yellow dog" company of the 11th Georgia (so named due to the particular color of dye used in their issued uniform pants) and started as "Old Tiger".
 
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Glen_C

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Since he (Anderson) references that he had almost forgot who the sword belonged to, would indicate that it was not a presentation sword. Most likely as Glen says, a nice Ames or even Horstman import.

Walker’s pre ACW history might indicate where it originated as well, I’m away from home at present, but he may have had Mexican War service. I’ll research further when I return.
He was but a lad during the Mexican War and a young man of 21 when war broke out.
Francis Amasa Walker (July 2, 1840 – January 5, 1897)

A short life but quite a busy man. Old in heart by the time he went to college.

Cheers
GC
 

Glen_C

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Checking back after a brief correspondence with the collections manager of the MIT museum. She mentions "making her day but alas, no sword." The next paths might be with historians of the Massachusetts Loyal Legion military association and trying to find genealogical possibilities in correspondence with his descendants. I used to live in the Worcester area but never knew of the Brookfield and Leicester connections. Both of them with historical societies. I still have a feeling he was not overwhelmed with the return, More newspaper articles might lead to something but as mentioned, he was an incredibly busy guy in 1880. Just the wiki page shows an enormous amount of activity, throughout his life.

Cheers
GC
 
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lelliott19

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Checking back after a brief correspondence with the collections manager of the MIT museum. She mentions "making her day but alas, no sword." The next paths might be with historians of the Massachusetts Loyal Legion military association and trying to find genealogical possibilities in correspondence with his descendants. I used to live in the Worcester area but never knew of the Brookfield and Leicester connections. Both of them with historical societies. I still have a feeling he was not overwhelmed with the return, More newspaper articles might lead to something but as mentioned, he was an incredibly busy guy in 1880. Just the wiki page shows an enormous amount of activity, throughout his life.

Cheers
GC
Thanks for checking and for providing an update. Appreciate your interest and your kind assistance.
 

Glen_C

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I received a reply from the current commander of the MOLLUS and the investigation has been run up a flag pole.
Glen – it has taken me a month to get back to you but we had a meeting of our Mollus group last Friday, December 14th. I was presented with a book with all of the names of people who were members of Mass Mollus through the year 1891. Frances Amasa Walker appears as a person who joined Mass Mollus on February 1, 1882. According to his summary, he was made a Brigadier General on March 13, 1865 “for gallant conduct at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, and for meritorious services during the war”. He must have passed after the book was published, January 1, 1891.

I meant to pass your request about the sword on to the group but I forgot to do so so I am sending it to some of the folks in the Mass Commandery who might have some input on your question about the sword returned to Walker in1880 by a Confederate officer.

The Framingham History Center has a number of items for General Gordon who was in charge of the contingent who stopped the Confederates at Little Round Top and saved the North’s Bacon as they were threatening to break our lines. Ed Welch identified a jacket which was worn by General Gordon as he knew where to look for General Gordon’s name by pulling the arm of the coat inside out and there was General Gordon’s name. I will send this along to Ed Welch and others who might have some ideas on your question.
David O. Whittemore, Commander
Mass MOLLUS
910 Boston Post Road East, Suite 170
Marlborough, MA 01752
Tel: 508-305-2395
Fax: 508-305-2466
Email: [email protected]


So, there is still some hope more information might be forthcoming. The notes on Gordon and they're having some of Gordon's things, I guess worth the email, in and of itself. As we measure the search in decades and centuries, a month gone by seems like yesterday.

Cheers
GC
 
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