SILVER HUNTING CASE POCKET WATCH THAT CARRIES TWO INSCRIPTIONS, ONE TO A CIVIL WAR SOLDIER IN THE 28TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY

$950.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: M21134

An honest, Civil War-period example of an ID’d, key-wound pocket watch in its original, plain, German silver hunting case. This timepiece, which has seen its share of repair and maintenance, does not work but carries an interesting history with it. Private Edward Smith, from Doylestown, PA, enlisted on July 7, 1861 at Philadelphia, PA for three years in Company H, 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Smith served with the unit and was wounded in action at Antietam, MD on 17 September 1862. He was detached from the unit on November 19, 1862 as a carpenter at a Harper’s Ferry hospital until March 1863 when he gained promotion to Corporal. Upon return to the regiment, he served until November 1863 when he re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer. Smith was with his unit when he was killed in action at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia on his twenty-third birthday, July 27, 1864 at the Battle of Kolb’s Farm. Corporal Smith’s silver-cased pocket watch was returned to his father, Ingham Smith, of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, who later re-gifted his son’s watch with a new presentation to James T. Smith in 1891. Main inscription on the case inside cover exhibits a jeweler engraving of “Edw’d Smith / Co. E 28th Reg P. V. / 2nd. Div. 20th A.C.”. This portion of the cover is separated from the body of the watch as the hinge is broken. Also seen are marker markings “A.W. Co. / 205”. Interior movement cover shows the words “Killed at Kenesaw Mt Ga / His 23rd Birthday” engraved in a flowing, floral script. Back case cover interior shows the later presentation and engraving that appears as “PRESENTED TO / James T. Smith / BY / Ingham Smith / 1891”.

The recipient’s name, James T. Smith, does not appear in the soldier’s records or in the pension records but we feel further research would reveal the James T. Smith connection associated with Ingham and Edward Smith.

This Civil War period, silver, hunting cased pocket watch was produced by the American Waltham Company of Massachusetts and features a movement that bears a P.S. Bartlett designation in addition to a ‘Fogg’s patent’ mark. Case itself is in fair to good overall condition with its share of dings, dents, dark oxidation spots, along with a small perforation at the rim on the face cover. Hinges are worn but stable. Movement is not Civil War as it bears serial #669366 and was produced in 1872, corroborating the theory of the second or re-gifting presentation to James T. Smith in 1891. Evidence of period jeweler work is seen on the inside rim of the movement cover and show these tiny markings “5611” / “19322511R” / “E10-2-7” / “7545”, all hand-scratched by a jeweler. The 44mm diameter dial is white porcelain enamel applied to a copper base and is in fair to good condition with three edge chips between the numeral ‘12’ and numeral ‘3’. “AMERICAN WATCH CO.” is finely printed in black paint on the dial’s face as are the painted roman numerals and time marks that adorn the dial ring. Delicate minute and hour hands sets off the dial face and the second timer is detailed on the single sunk dial. Glass crystal is completely missing. Piece does not keep time. Bezel is heavily worn down from use. Timepiece was wound by means of a key but key is lost. The watch used a lever in conjunction with the key to set the time. Entire exterior the case is void of any ornate engraving, save for a single, six-leaf circular floral display centered on the backside. No chain or fob is included with Smith’s watch. This silver cased hunting pocket watch comes with Smith’s military and pension records in his father’s name. Edward Smith’s identified, silver pocket watch, with a fine provenance, is a unique and worthy artifact of personal Americana from the Civil War.  [ra]

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