1852 MANUAL OF BAYONET EXERCISE BY GEORGE McCLELLAN IDENTIFIED TO 20TH NEW YORK STATE MILITIA / 80TH NEW YORK SOLDIER WOUNDED AT GETTYSBURG

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This volume was written by George B. McClellan, and was printed by order of the War Department for use of the United States Army. It is a first edition that was published in Philadelphia in 1852. At this time, McClellan was the Commander-In-Chief of the United States Army.

The forward to the book was written by Winfield Scott, who said, “I strongly recommend its being printed for distribution to the Army; and that it is being made, by regulation, a part of the ‘Systems of Instruction’”. In the preface, McClellan explains how these tactics are primarily based on the teaching of the French fencing instructor M. Gomard, who claimed that, “the bayonet is more formidable than either the lance or the sabre”. The back of the book contains 24 pages of illustrations of the tactics which are being taught.

The author, George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac. He served a brief period (November 1861 to March 1862) as general-in-chief of the Union Army.

This book is ID’D to Daniel McMahon, who printed his name and rank on the first page. It reads, “DANIEL McMAHON, CAPT. D CO. 20TH REGT. NYSM”. He enlisted, date unknown, as a Sergeant in Co D, 20th New York State Militia, a 3 month unit. He enlisted at the age of 26 on August 4, 1861 at Shandaken, NY, as a Captain. On September 5, 1861 he was commissioned into Co. D, 80th NY Infantry. He is listed as wounded on September 1, 1862 at Chantilly, VA, and again on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg, where his left leg was amputated. He was discharged for wounds on June 23, 1864.

The 20th New York State Militia was ordered, April 23, 1861, to proceed to Washington, D. C. May 3, 1861, this order was revoked, the regiment being already at New York city en route. It was finally permitted to leave and left the State, May 7, 1861 (nine companies), commanded by Col. Geo. W. Pratt. It was mustered in the United States service May 11, 1861, to date April 23, 1861, at Annapolis, Md., to serve three months. It served at Annapolis, and at Baltimore, Md., and was mustered out at Kingston, August 2, 1861. Shortly after its return it volunteered, organized and was accepted for a three years' service, and December 7, 1861, it received the designation 80th Volunteers.

Book has a brown cloth cover with an embossed spread-winged eagle on both the front and back covers. The spine has the book’s title stamped in gold gilt lettering. The cloth cover is worn on all edges and has some light surface dirt. The corners are bent, and there is a horizontal tear on the spine 2 ¼” from the top. Pages have yellowed with age, but none are loose and binding is tight. Book measures 7 5/8” x 5” x ¾”. Text contains 142 pages.

This book is an outstanding find for a collector of US militaria.

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