INSCRIBED ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND BADGE OF COL. R.H. RAMSEY, AIDE DE CAMP AND ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL TO GENERAL TO GEORGE H. THOMAS

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Item Code: 480-191

Robert Hampton Ramsey served as aide-de-camp and assistant adjutant general to George H. Thomas through the Atlanta Campaign and Battle of Nashville. This beautiful gold badge is engraved with his name, rank and staff position on the reverse. Officially adopted June 19, 1865, the badge was intended to, “signalize and perpetuate the history of the Army of the Cumberland.” Selected from designs submitted to a committee appointed for the purpose on June 10 at Nashville, the badge incorporates the badges of the 4th, 14th and 20th Army Corps: the triangle, acorn, and star. Certain elements were left up to the individual, whether the badge was silver or gold, the triangle was raised or engraved, whether the acorn was enameled, etc. Specifications for a pin consisting of an oval with laurel wreath bordered by pillars bearing the words “Army of the Cumberland” and a red, white and blue ribbon were also laid out, but this badge features a T-bar pin of its own, indicating it could be fastened to a ribbon or worn separately. The officer who owned it and whose name is inscribed on the back served as ADC and AAG to General George H. Thomas throughout the Atlanta Campaign and through the Battle of Nashville, which put an end to Hood’s army as a significant fighting force.

The badge measures 1.75 inches from tip to tip across the upper arms. The star has a border and is filled by sun rays radiating out from the edges of the raised triangle at center, which has a stippled ground on which is placed a raised acorn, with turquoise body, small diamonds for a cap, and a stem. The reverse shows the T-bar pin and clasp in place and the two small square bases of the pins securing the acorn on the face. The badge is also nicely engraved on the reverse, “1865” in the top angle of the star, and “Col. Robt. H. Ramsey” and “A.A.G.” below the pin.

Ramsey was born in South Pottsville, Pa, in 1838. He was twenty-five years old and working as a clerk at the Corn Exchange Bank in Philadelphia in the summer of 1863 when he enlisted in the 45th Pennsylvania Militia (Emergency Troops,) one of the regiments mustered for three months service as Lee’s Gettysburg campaign took shape. Ironically, he mustered into Co. H and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant to date July 1, the first day of Gettysburg.

After Lee’s withdrawal the regiment was posted to Schuylkill County, with headquarters at Pottsville, to deal with draft rioting and on August 2 Ramsey was posted as Assistant Adjutant General to the staff of General William Whipple, a regular army officer in charge of the Lehigh district. Whipple was so impressed with Ramsey’s abilities that when the 45th was mustered out he did not relieve him from duty and gave positive orders to the mustering officer not to muster him out. Ramsey thus continued in the position under Whipple’s successors while Whipple, appointed to staff duty with George H. Thomas (Quartermaster and then Chief of Staff in December 1863) campaigned for his commission as captain and Assistant Adjutant General in the volunteer service, which was finally achieved, to date December 5, 1863. (All adjutant generals were “assistant” A.G.s except the one in Washington.) Though it was not until February 22, 1864, that he reported for duty to Thomas as Chattanooga (G.O. 35 HQ Dept of the Cumberland, 2/27/64.) (Gen. Couch, in charge of the District of the Susquehanna, supposedly had found him too useful to part with readily.)

According to his obituary in the Society of the Army of the Cumberland (10th Reunion, 1876,) “When the Atlanta campaign opened, he served as acting aide-de-camp and assistant adjutant-general to General Thomas, and took part in the marches and battles of that fierce struggle which ended with the fall of Atlanta. Though almost constantly exposed to the fire of the enemy, and several times narrowly escaping capture, he passed through the entire campaign uninjured. The next movement was back to Chattanooga, along the line of the railroad on which raiding parties of the enemy were continually operating, and then to Nashville.” Ramsey appears frequently in the Official Records from February 1864 through the Atlanta and Nashville campaign and beyond, often as the recipient of reports and the signer of orders from Thomas.

Thomas was no less impressed with Ramsey and recommended him for promotion. He was commissioned Major (and A.A.G.) to date January 27, 1865, and later received brevets to date June 5, 1865, as Lt. Colonel and Colonel, for “faithful service in the field.” He remained in the army until May 1866 at Headquarters Military Division of the Tennessee when he was finally relieved and directed to return to Pottsville and report by letter to the Adjutant General of the Army for muster out of service, which was officially done in July. His Army of the Cumberland obituary says he was offered a post in the regular army, but preferred to return to civilian life. He entered the newspaper business in Pottsville, married a Nashville girl in December 1866, and died in 1876 while visiting her family home. He was interred in Pottsville.

This is a beautiful badge in excellent condition that belonged to a very well-respected officer at the center of two of the major campaigns of the war.  [sr]

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