US CARTRIDGE BOX ID’D TO MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT JOHN M. DEANE OF THE 3RD & 29TH MASSACHSUETTS INFANTRY

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Item Code: 846-210

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This infantry cartridge box was preserved by the family with a significant trove of artifacts belonging John M. Deane that we are offering in separate sales. When the war broke out Deane was a 29 year-old teacher in Freetown, Mass. He had been in the Massachusetts Militia as a member of the Assonet Light Infantry since 1858 and he rushed south to defend Washington as part of the 3rd Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. They were called into service on the afternoon of 15 April 1861 and set out 18 April 1861, not actually being mustered into service until already in the field. Deane’s enlistment and commission as Second Lieutenant of Co. G thus date 23 April 1861. The unit served three months, evacuating and firing the Gosport Navy Yard and garrisoning Fortress Monroe. Deane was mustered out 22 July 1861.

Deane then enlisted and was commissioned 1 June 1862 as a 2nd Lt. in the 29th Massachusetts, in which he served to the end of the war. He was promoted to 1st Lt. with a commission to date 12/29/62 and Adjutant 11/1/63; Captain 6/8/64 (mustering 10/12/64;) Major 5/15/65 (mustering to date the same day;) and subsequently a brevet to Major of US Vols to date 3/25/65. The 29th Mass. served for a time with the Irish Brigade during the Seven Days Battles and at Antietam, where they fought in front of the Sunken Road. The regiment afterwards transferred to the 9th Corps, serving in Mississippi and Tennessee from most of 1863, then moved back east for a brief stint in the 5th Corps, and then to the 9th Corps again for Grant’s overland and Petersburg campaigns. They saw action at Gaines Mill, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Antietam, Jackson (Miss.,) Campbell’s Station (Tenn.,) Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Petersburg in the siege and assault of June 17, Weldon Railroad, and Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865, Lee’s last attempt to break the siege at Petersburg, where Deane was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for helping man an artillery piece under heavy fire and aiding in the repulse of the Confederate attack. They lost a total of 4 officers and 53 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during their service. Deane’s letters have been published and several of the regiment’s official reports for 1864 and 1865 were penned by Deane and are part of the Official Records.

Black leather cartridge box is of the 1861 Pattern. There are no tins present on the inside but overall the box is in nice condition.

The exterior flap has only light surface crazing caused by use. At center is a Pattern 1839 cartridge box plate with “US” at center. The plate is held by a single chip of new wood. The right edge of the plate is slightly indented. Curled but complete latch tab is sewn to the underside of the outer flap by a single row of stitching only.

Inner flap has both ears and matches the outer flap in condition. Leather is smooth at center but lightly crazed along the edges. Implement pocket and flap are also very good.

Both roller buckles are present at the bottom of the box as is the brass finial at center. Leather under the buckles show light indentations from use.

Reverse has both sling and belt loops in good condition

Box shows some white residue from leather preservatives especially on the underside of the flap.

A nice cartridge box identified to a man who received his nation’s highest award for valor.  [AD]

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