Major John J. Callahan medals


Aug 4, 2020
Hello! I'm a newbie. My wife found medals from Major Callahan in her late mother's estate, and I have done some research on them. I'll be trying to attach pix later. The pin is a civil war Major's pin. The badge, which was probably on a ribbon, commemorates the second Michigan infantry's service from Blackburn's Ford in 1861 to Appomattox in 1865. A list of their service is at
I have not been able to find a badge like that on the web. Have any of you seen one like it? Why on earth is there an anchor on an infantry badge? What is that symbol over the cannon/anchor?
On the back of the badge is an inscription about Major John J. Callahan. A pic of him and his obit is at It turns out that my wife's parents bought the house that the Major lived in on Normal Avenue (mentioned in the obit) from the Major's son Earle, found the medals when they were cleaning out the house and saved them all these decades.
My best reading of the inscription is

Maj. John J. Callahan
----------< o >---------
2nd Mich. infantry
Co. K and ???
Adj. of the Regiment
from Bull Run to
46- -46
??????? MENT 5

I have tried to scan the medal, and the inscription is almost completely illegible. The best I can do is pix with light coming from a sharp angle. I hope that some of you can decipher the parts of the inscription I can't, based on your knowledge of the phrases and terms and text styles that were used at the time.

The "14" appears to me to indicate that it was part of a numbered, limited series of such badges. I wonder if this is the only survivor?
I struggled with the "Co. K" for a long time, until I realized that he was part of Company K However, I'm unsure of "and" and have no clue what follows that. Any ideas?
I'm very confident that the next line starts with "Adj.", but what does that means?
The two "46's" are a puzzle to me. Is that perhaps because he was only a Major in 46, or an "Adj" only in 46.
Finally, I initially thought the bottom was regiment 5, but the more I look at it, the more unsure I am of what is written there.

I hope you enjoy seeing the pix, and thanks for any info you can add.
Finally, does anybody have an idea of the value?

Thanks, Dennis P.







Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
May 7, 2016
Nice badge. Its a post war GAR badge. The photos of the back a very hard to see. Value $350 to $400
Why on earth is there an anchor on an infantry badge? What is that symbol over the cannon/anchor?
That is the 9th Corp motif which the 2nd was part of.

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