BRIGADIER GENERAL SHOULDER STRAPS OF GEN. JOHN RAMSEY, WOUNDED AT CHANCELLORSVILLE, THE ROSE WOODS AT GETTYSBURG, AND AT PETERSBURG

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Item Code: 142-63

John Ramsey was a fighting officer. Commissioned first on 5/1/61 at age 24 as Captain of Co. G, 2nd NJ Militia, also known at the 18th NJ, a three-month regiment, he served at Washington and Alexandria, and mustered out with them on 7/31/61. Less than a month later he obtained a commissioned as Captain of Co. B, 5th NJ, on 8/28/61, being promoted to Major of the regiment in March and Lieutenant Colonel in October. During his service with the unit they were in Hooker’s Division, later the 2nd Division 3rd Army Corps, and saw action at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill and Second Bull Run. Shortly before his commission to Lieutenant Colonel he had been detailed to command the 8th NJ, and on 4/1/63 he was officially transferred to that regiment and given command as Colonel. At Chancellorsville the regiment, part of the Third Corps, was hard-hit and Ramsey wounded, but he returned to command them at Gettysburg. On July 2, as part of Burling’s brigade, they were moved over to support the First Division, holding a line from the Peach Orchard through the Rose Woods and the Wheatfield, to the base of Little Round Top. The brigade was fed into the fight piecemeal and only the 8th NJ and 115th PA fought together, in the area of the Rose Woods and Wheatfield. The 8th lost 47 officers and men out of some 170, including Ramsey, who was again wounded in the chaotic fighting.

Ramsey recovered in time to return for Grant’s Overland Campaign in Spring 1864 and in June was given command of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Second Army Corps. He was wounded for the third time on June 16, 1864, in the attack on Petersburg, but once again returned to the field and command of another brigade in the division, receiving a promotion to Brevet Brigadier General, US Volunteers on December 2, 1864 for "distinguished services in the present campaign before Richmond Virginia,” and served through the surrender at Appomattox. Ramsey mustered out July 17, 1865, receiving a promotion to Brevet Major General as of March 13, 1865, “for gallant and meritorious services during the war.”

This is a very nice set of wartime brigadier general’s shoulder straps with a well-defined period of use. They are constructed in the typically wartime fashion with an open back. The black velvet interiors have very good color. The gilt coiled jacqueron edge wires, both inner and outer, are in place. The silver bullion stars show no pulling and the raised gold bullion borders show some minor oxidation toward green, but preserve their dominantly gold tone. Ramsey (sometimes spelled Ramsay in the records, and on both the regimental monument at Gettysburg and on his own memorial at Arlington) died in New Jersey in 1901. This is a scarce set of general’s straps belonging to a real fighting commander in the Army of the Potomac.  [sr]

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