Collection The Ron Tunison Collection Sale at Skinnerinc Today

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Did anyone here participate besides me today? It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I bought Lot #21, the silver Waltham pocket watch carried by Lt., and later Major and Lt. Colonel Elial Foote Carpenter of the 49th and 112th NY Infantry (if my memory serves). Carpenter, who was then in command of the 112th, was mortally wounded at Drury’s Bluff on the James River in May, 1864, when he went in search of a lieutenant he had dispatched on a reconnaissance and wandered into a rebel force in the fog. Rejecting a surrender demand, he wheeled his horse and fled, but caught a bullet in the side during his escape. He died 2 days later. Pictures, or a link, to follow.
 
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The watch isn't in my hands yet, but here is the link:

Coin Silver Civil War American Watch Company Pocket Watch and Chain Identified to Major Elial F. Carpenter, 49th and 112th New York Vol | Sale Number 3305M, Lot Number 21 | Skinner Auctioneers

It is a silver William Ellery Grade Waltham Model 1857, movement SN 42,995 finished in June, 1862, engraved "Lieut. E. F. [Lieutenant Elial Foote] Carpenter, Jamestown, [Chautaqua Cy.] NY", on the reverse, and "Killed May 12, 1864" in a shield on the obverse. I believe the date on the obverse ex post facto inscription is slightly in error, which is not uncommon; Carpenter actually was mortally wounded on May 14, and he died on May 16.

Lt. Carpenter served in the 49th NY Infantry from near the beginning of the war, through the Peninsula Campaign and the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg during his time with the regiment. Shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lt. Carpenter was promoted to major and transferred to the 112th NY Infantry, then was subsequently promoted to lt. colonel and to command of that regiment. On May 14, 1864, the 112th was in action near Drury's Bluff (also spelled Drewry's Bluff) on the James River in Virginia, when as I mentioned previously, he had gone in search of a lieutenant he had dispatched on a reconnaissance. In the fog, Carpenter blundered into the same rebel force that had taken his lieutenant prisoner. They demanded his surrender too, but Carpenter spurned the demand and wheeled his horse and fled, but he caught a bullet in his side during the escape that ended his life two days later.

Aside from being in excellent shape, this watch has many appeals for me: It is the first William Ellery Grade Waltham Civil War provenance watch in my collection, which is actually a little odd, since the Ellery grade was the most common Waltham soldier's watch and I have three other Model 1857s and one Model 1859 with Civil War provenances. It is also the first provenance watch in my collection that very likely was on the field at Gettysburg (though the 49th NY played only a minor role in that particular battle). It is also the first provenance watch in my collection from a unit from NY (the state of my birth). It is only the second watch in my collection to have been carried by a combatant who was either killed or mortally wounded in action. And finally, it is out of the late Ron Tunison Collection of Civil War artifacts. Ron Tunison sculpted the magnificent Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial in the Gettysburg National Cemetery Annex, dedicated in 1993, that is pictured on the front cover of my book.

Lt. Col. EF Carpenter.jpg
 
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