ANTIETAM BATTLEFIELD PICK-UP BUTTON BOARD

$295.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: R23117

A very nice example of a Civil War soldier’s “button board” found on the battlefield of Antietam by George W. Mowers, 21st Pa. Cavalry. We recently bought an entire archive of material belonging to Mowers directly from his sole descendant. Mowers served two tours of duty: in Co. D, 21st Pa. Cavalry, for six months, from July 1863 to February 1864, and in the 87th Pa. in 1865. He lived in Fayetteville, Pa., and gathered local relics from Gettysburg, but this is likely a souvenir from his service with the 21st Pa. Cavalry, several companies of which, including Mowers’ company, were posted at Harpers Ferry in the latter part of 1863 and early 1864. Needless to say, this is close to Antietam and this button board would not have survived if it had been lying outdoors much longer than that.

Mowers inscribed it in ink: “Antietam Battlefield / taken by George W. Mowers.” These boards permitted the soldier to polish his buttons without marring his uniform. The army did not supply any such thing, but company sergeants still expected polished brass for inspections and these were a common fabrication by soldiers from scrap wood in camp and turn up occasionally in soldier’s effects. Mowers may have picked it up as something useful for himself as well as a souvenir.  [SR]

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