CLASSIC CONFEDERATE CAP BOX FROM GETTYSBURG PICKED UP BY G.W. MOWERS OF FAYETTEVILLE, PA., VETERAN OF THE 21st PA CAV AND 87th PA INF.

$3,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: M26553

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If you have been checking our new arrivals you will have noticed material from George W. Mowers of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. Mowers did two stints in the army during the Civil War: six months in the 21st PA Cavalry from July 15, 1863, through February 1864, and four months from late February to late June 1865 in the 87th PA Infantry. Mowers brought back a few of his own things from his service, but more significantly, he collected pieces from Gettysburg.

He was well situated to do it. Fayetteville is just east of Chambersburg and just west of Gettysburg along the Chambersburg Pike. The area was the point of concentration for Lee’s army in the days before Gettysburg and the Pike was his main line of approach to the scene of the first day’s battlefield. Early’s division camped around Fayetteville and Greenwood from June 24 to 26. By June 27 A.P. Hill’s Corps was in the area: while Heth’s division pushed east toward Cashtown, Anderson’s and Pender’s divisions remained camped along the Pike in Fayetteville and Greenwood. Longstreet’s divisions arrived, Johnson’s division returned, and by the time of the advance on July 1, seven of Lee’s nine divisions had moved through or camped in the area. There was further Confederate activity just east of the town late on July 4 during Lee’s retreat. The long train of hospital wagons, escorted by Imboden’s and Hampton’s cavalry and several artillery units, moved west along the Chambersburg Pike, turning south just east of Fayetteville and Greenwood. Mowers also had ample opportunity to scour not just the scene of the first day’s battle, but the whole battlefield, living in Fayetteville for his entire life, from 1844 to 1895. Even during is brief service with the 21st PA Cavalry he had time in the area, not mustering in until July 15, 1863, and even then, the unit trained in Chambersburg until mid-August.

This is a classic Confederate cap box picked up by Mowers and preserved by his family with other relics and mementos for 124 years, until we were able to purchase the whole group recently. The box is in excellent condition. It is constructed with a two-piece front; the outer flap being secured to a lead or pewter stud by a separately sewn latch tab. The inner flap and side ears are in place. Almost unheard of in CS cap boxes, the fleece strip used to prevent the caps from jostling out, has not fallen prey to moths and is still there. The belt loop is the classic, wide, single loop you expect to see on a Confederate box, and the finish throughout is excellent, with just minor rubbing, scuffs or crazing, from flexing and use. A typically Victorian decoration was added to the cover in the form of a vine and leaves in green paint. This is the same paint used to paint floral decorations on the Philadelphia Depot pattern canteen which he painted in 1890; Mower carried this canteen with him to the first reunion of veterans of the 21st PA Cavalry, held in Gettysburg in 1890.

The cap box might have been painted for display during a local reunion, but is very typical of the decoration added in later years to veterans’ canteens and other relics and mementos that might be displayed in a house parlor and seen by visitors. It is a legitimate part of the piece’s history and we would leave it as is

This is a wonderful Confederate accouterment with a dead-real Gettysburg connection.  [SR]

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