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Item Code: 30-1516
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The grouping consists of Captain Richards' scrapbook of the Co. "H", 21st New Jersey Infantry, as well as his personal shaving box, which contains the following items:
(1) Officer's belt plate-M1851 brass plate with no keeper, exhibiting dark coppery patina, else VG & sharp.
(2) GAR member-ship ribbon medallion, with reverse patent dates 1885-86, stamped edge no. "W94154"; exhibiting light tarnish & slight soiling, else VG.
(3) GAR lapel pin, exhibiting light tarnish.
(4) Two cased ambrotypes, one of Capt. Richards, and the other probably his wife [wearing wedding ring]. Richards wears & frock coat in standing holding foot-officers sword in left hand; wife is posed seated, dressed in crinoline. Both image sharp and crisp with some margin oxidation on the woman's image. Brass frames fine, cases worn, & covers separated. Else VG.
(5) Photocopy of Capt. Richards' wartime image, in uniform, standing by chair. Sharp & VG.
(6) "American Creed" card/ Daughters of American Revolution, ca. 1900.
(7) Two prayer-book pamphlets, both measuring 4.5 x 3"- Of these two, The Soldier's Prayer Book", 64pp., has cl. spine & end-paper inscription "Lizz__ Richards"/ "Book/ February 25, 1863". Exhibits soiled and lightly water-stained covers; text entirely legible. The second booklet-Soldier's Hymns and Psalms-was published by the American Tract Society for the Army Committee of the YMCA. Front eps inscription "Miss Belinda A. Richards/ April 16,/ 1863/from the Army of the/ Potomac Virginia". Exhibits light water soiling of end papers. Else VG, with entirely legible text.
(8) New Jersey Civil War Veteran medal. Circular bronze double-sided medallion awarded to "New Jersey Veterans of Union forces, 1861-65", no. "4307". Exhibits dark coppery patina, else VG.
(9) Leather wallet, light brown in color, triple fold, measuring 5 x 8.5". Light wear, else VG.
(10) Jennie Wade pin with miniature image laid in circular brooch measuring 1.125". Circa, 1900.
(11) Small bore, .36 caliber pistol mold [ball & conical]. Measures 3.75" in length, and .625" width across mold. Exhibits plumb colored patina with light rust. Else VG.
(12) Circular wooden snuff box, measuring 3.75" in diameter, 1" in depth. Richards' initials--"R.J.R."--carved across bottom. Small crack runs along the upper edge of initials. Exhibits light wear, else Good.
(13) Small 48 star American flag, measuring 2.625 x 2", with attractive pin staff measuring 5.125". VG plus.
(14) Small post-war cartridge belt for .22 cal. cartridges. Fragile.
(15) (15) Voilet colored goggles, attached by string, in japanned tin carrying case measuring 1.625 x 2.625". Exhibits light wear in scratching. Else VG.
(16) Captain Richards' wooden shaving box measures 12 x 8.25 x 4.5". Four inner compartments, plus shaving mirror measuring 5.5 x 7". Brass hinge & lock [no key] dovetail corners. Slight wear. VG plus, and attractive.
Before detailing the extensive records in the scrapbook it is important to note Richards individual service as well as that of his regiment, which run as follows:
Richards enlisted as 1st Lieutenant and was commissioned into Co. "H", 21st New Jersey Infantry on 9/15/ 1862. He was promoted to Captain in January 1863 and was mustered out on 6/19/ 1863.
Richards' company "H" had been the "Olden Rifles" of the New Jersey Militia prior to its mustering into the nine-month 21st New Jersey Infantry. In the pre-war "Olden Rifles" Richards had served as 1st Sergeant before being promoted to Captain in November 1861. Soon after joining federal service Federal service the 21st New Jersey participated in the Battle of Fredericksburg, during which it covered the laying of pontoons on December 11th, 1862. Stationed near White Oak Church, the unit participated in the January '63 "Mud March" and was active in the Chancellorsville Campaign, and the Battle of Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863, before being mustered out on June 19, 1863. During service it lost 21 men killed and mortally wounded and 31 by disease for a total of 52.
Richards' notebook is contained in blue glazed cloth and measures 30 x 23". His records take up 62 ink numbered pages, and includes a page one index detailing the type documents found on each page. These include clothing and ordinance returns, price lists of clothing and small arms, ordinance and furlough blanks, accounts and receipts of moneys sent home, receipts for bounties paid ranging from $50 to $800. Outer cloth covering moderately worn. Interior documents lightly yellowed, but entirely legible.
Most interesting are the reports of loss of equipment and personnel for the Battle of Fredericksburg, May 3-4, 1862. For example, Richards reports the expenditure of 4,772 cartridges. He reports the loss of wounded and 71 captured in the following terms:
"I certify that the following stores were lost under the following circumstances-the regt. to which my co. belongs was directed to advance under fire of the enemy to take a certain position,; in doing so two privates and 2 non-coms were wounded, 70, and one non-com were taken prisoner-the arms carried by all these men were left on the field as we were repulsed and they could not be recovered."
In all, a superb spectacular 21st New Jersey grouping for Garden State regimental aficionados. Invites further research.