Boyle & Gamble Sword Presented to Brigadier General John H. Winde

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Mike Serpa

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Confederate Boyle & Gamble Staff & Field Officer's Sword Presented to Brigadier General John H. Winder in Richmond July 15, 1864....

Winder.jpg

ws.jpeg


... John Henry Winder was born in Somerset County, Maryland, February 21, 1800 and graduated from West Point at the age of twenty. He was later an instructor of tactics there when Jefferson Davis was a cadet. Resigning in 1823, he was reappointed to the army four years later, and was brevetted major and lieutenant colonel for gallant and meritorious conduct during the Mexican War. He resigned his commission as major in the 3rd US Artillery at the outbreak of hostilities on April 27, 1861, was appointed brigadier general in the Provisional Confederate Army on June 21, and made provost marshal of the city of Richmond. This office made him not only responsible for the prison camps in the vicinity, but also for the arrest and return of deserters, and for the maintenance of order in a city swelled to more than twice its normal size by the war. During one period, the responsibility for the fixing of commodity prices for the inhabitants also devolved upon him. On November 21, 1864 he assumed the duties of commissary general of prisoners east of the Mississippi. His earlier police powers had made him generally unpopular in Richmond. However, the opprobrium heaped upon him by loyal Confederates was nothing compared to the execrations of the Northern press and public, who accused him of deliberately starving Union prisoners of war. The charges were utterly without foundation. Winder adopted every means at his disposal to assure that the prisoners received the same ration as Confederate soldiers in the field, scanty as that allotment was. His task was rendered almost impossible by the refusal of the federal government to affect an exchange. Weighed down by the fatigue and anxiety of his duties he died a Florence, South Carolina on February 7, 1865 and is buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore. Doubtless, only his death before the end of the war prevented his eventual trial and execution at the hands of Federal authorities along with Henry Wirz....

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Legion Para

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An exquisite sword which I've had the pleasure of handling on several occasions.

For further reading on General Winder.

51RT64gIDKL._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 
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Exquisite workmanship. Thanks for the pix, Mike.

Since the North's refusal to continue prisoner exchanges has come up on this thread, it is worth mentioning that there is rational cause to believe that large-scale prisoner exchanges, had they continued, might have prolonged the war, and thus in the end even have increased total casualties on both sides. The North's refusal to continue prisoner exchanges late in the war was an integral part of the winning federal war strategy. The crux of that strategy, in the latter half of the war, was to attrite the rebel army. Continuing to trade prisoners would have run directly contrary to that strategy. Capturing key cities, ports, etc., was still vital, but in many cases, the greatest strategic importance of these geographic points was that the rebel government was obliged to defend them. The foremost aim became to eliminate the rebel army as an effective fighting force. This successful strategy was inevitably bloody, but whether it ultimately resulted in higher or lower casualties is impossible to say, because no one can say how long the war would have continued if the North had persevered with its earlier approaches. (In fact, it is entirely possible that if the North had been less successful on the battlefield, McClellan might have defeated Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election, and the North might not have won the war at all!)
 
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