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Item Code: 557-07
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Presented here is a fresh and original Civil War treasury of personal wartime accoutrements brought home by combat veteran 1st Lieutenant Henry S. Hitchcock, an infantryman in Company A, 21st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. This fantastic, all-original grouping consists of Hitchcock’s Model 1840 NCO sword with leather scabbard, his double-frogged, over the shoulder buff leather belt with his socket bayonet and its original scabbard. Lastly, and most importantly, Hitchcock’s own handwritten wartime diary tops this fantastic grouping with numerous and detailed battle entries and observations. His first entry is July 19, 1861 and he continues until his last written entry on October 27, 1863.
All the items are in excellent-plus condition and have been well preserved down through the passing generations. Only cursory research has been completed on Henry Hitchcock as yet but Company “A”, 21st MA Volunteer Infantry was recruited at Worcester, Massachusetts in July 1861. Twenty-two year old Hitchcock enlisted in the regiment on July 19, 1861 at Templeton, MA for three years of service. In March 1862, he was appointed as company First Sergeant that was soon followed up with his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant in Company “I” on 25 Sep 1862. Hitchcock was detailed for Brigade Staff duty and promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 26 April 1863. In February 1864, Hitchcock transferred back to Company “A” where he served until severely wounded in the chest during action in the Crater explosion at Petersburg, VA on July 30, 1864. During his service, Hitchcock participated in action at Hatteras Island and Roanoke Island, NC; battle at Camden, Pope’s VA Campaign at Groveton, 2nd Bull Run and Chantilly; the Maryland Campaign at So Mtn, Antietam, MD; Fredericksburg and the ‘Mud March’ in Jan 1863. Operations in East Tennessee at Knoxville and in the pursuit of CS General Longstreet in Dec 1863. The Rapidan Campaign at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the North Anna River, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Hitchcock mustered out at Worcester on August 30, 1864 and returned to Templeton / Fitchburg Massachusetts where he raised a family and worked as a carpenter.
Hitchcock’s over the shoulder buff leather belt is in very excellent-plus condition but not maker marked. Strong yet supple, the belt’s exterior has been dyed black as per army regulations while the inside is the original buff coloring. No cracking, flaking, rips or tears are visible. Complete with its original, NCO brass M1826 eagle breastplate attached, belt frog is equipped with two slotted compartments, one that holds Hitchcock’s M1855 angular socket bayonet with original leather scabbard, and the other compartment for his leather sword scabbard, both items in excellent condition. Bayonet is stamped “US” and has acquired a dark rich patina with scattered spots of oxidation. Bayo scabbard body is tight with all stitching strong.
The straight, double-guarded NCO sword is a Model 1840 Ames model and in fine condition. Excellent blade is bright and stamped “US / ADK / 1862” on the obverse ricasso while the reverse is marked with “Ames Mfg Co. / Chicopee / Mass”. Knucklebow is also marked with the government inspector stamp “ADK”. Sword scabbard is in very good condition, strong and tight, and shows just slight scuffing in areas but no weak spots or blemishes. Brass furniture on bayo and sword scabbard is very good and has a pleasing bronze patina.
Hitchcock was an observer of detail and his diary, a hardbound book 8” high x 6½” long, holds numerous entries that are clear, succinct and telling. “14 Jan 1862 – off coast of NC. Great gale. Saw the steamer ‘City of New York”, full of ammunition and stores, go to pieces and completely wrecked”. 1 Mar 1862 - Battle of Newbern. Had a hard fight. The 1st Bde went on into Newbern. The Rebs burnt the bridge over the Trent. A great many men were killed among the Rebels & a great many were shot through the head. Sat 13 Dec 1862 – Fredericksburg. We were ordered to lie down for we knew that the enemy were preparing to give us a terrible voley and in it came the air was full of iron & lead & powder smoke, then the order came from Gen. Ferrero – Rise up! & Charge! And we obeyed and charged across that terribly open inclined plane between us and the rebel earthworks.” In the diary is found a CDV of a young un-IDd woman and a newspaper titled “The Christian Banner”, dated June18, 1862 from Fredericksburg, VA.
Lieutenant Hitchcock’s accoutrement grouping is accompanied with his military and pension records from the National Archives in Washington DC. Perfect for a Massachusetts-focused collection or soldier’s personal display. If one seeks a ready-made collection of fine, identified, original Civil War artifacts once carried by a Union combat veteran, look no more. You’ve found them here.
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