IDENTIFIED CIVIL WAR POCKET WATCH OF ASSISTANT SURGEON EDWARD BROOKS, US REGULARS, FIFTH ARMY CORPS

$1,950.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 2020-465

Formerly in collection of Dr. Gordon Dammann, noted Civil War medical collector and author, this Civil War pocket watch comes with the two original family notes on its history found folded in the back of its silver case. The watch was made in Geneva and is open face with an overlapping geometric spiral pattern on the back. One of the notes is missing a bit of the left edge and the other has a hole at bottom, but both are fully legible and the content in unaffected. The notes read, “Edward Brooks / [watc]h Carried by him in the / [Civil] War 1862-1865,” and “Edward Brooks watch carried by him all through his medical school at Philadelphia and through the War of the rebellion and last sickness. He died April 19, 1865.” This second note is signed by a member of the Brooks family whose first name is mostly missing from a hole in the paper but may be one of his brothers and is dated “Aug. 9th 190[?].

Brooks was born in Massachusetts, the son of Moses and Sophronia Brooks, and appointed to the medical staff of the U.S. army from New York as an Assistant Surgeon 19 August 1862. He did hospital duty in Washington and Baltimore until October 1863, when he joined the Army of the Potomac in the field. There he was assigned to the ambulances of the 2nd Division 5th Army Corps, which placed him in the front lines. In December 1863 he was posted to the 11th US Infantry (5th Corps) until August 1864 and then in the Division Field Hospital, Fifth Corps, until November 1864, when he moved to the 5th Corps Headquarters, where he served until February 1865. From March 1865 to January 1866, he was in the office of the Medical Director, Department of the East, in New York City. He was breveted Captain and Major as of March 1865 for “faithful and meritorious service during the war.” From the reference in the note to “his last sickness,” he must have fallen ill at that point, for he died at Rockdale, Chenango County, NY, 19 April 1866, the writer of the one family note mistaking the year the war ended for the date of Brooks’ death. He is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Oxford, NY.

Brooks was thus intimately involved with the hard-fighting Fifth Corps in Grant’s brutal 1864 Virginia Campaign the siege of Petersburg, serving from the period of Bristoe Station and Mine Run in Fall 1863 right through to just about the end of the war at Petersburg. While he was attached to the 11th US Infantry, they saw action at Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the Weldon Railroad, among other engagements and the continuous fighting at Petersburg. Brooks was just 28 years old when he died in 1866. His tombstone is inscribed, “Deeds measure life, not years.” This is a nicely identified Civil War watch carried by an active officer in the field that displays very well with the family notes.  [sr]

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