CIVIL WAR VETERAN’S ESCUTCHEON OF BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL ISAAC DYER

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Item Code: 1097-29

These heraldic escutcheons were made to commemorate an individual’s service. This one was made for Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Isaac Dyer, commander of the 15th Maine. The blue shield is quartered by a red cross bearing his battle honors top to bottom and his assignment to the Dept. of the Gulf and Army of the Shenandoah at left and right. His ranks as Lt. Colonel and Colonel of infantry and his rank as Brigadier General are signified by shoulder straps at upper left and right, along with his dates of service, and at upper left and right his service in the 15th Maine Infantry and in the U.S. Volunteers (as brevet brigadier general.) The lower quarters show an infantry hunting horn with the number “15” in the loop, and a second-pattern red Nineteenth Corps Badge. The shield is surrounded by gold rococo floral scrolls, an American eagle and flags at top, and a gilt edged blue scroll at bottom reading: “Bvt. Brig. Genl. Isaac Dyer” in gold. At center is a blank oval cartouche that could be filled by a photographic portrait. Measurements are 17” x 23”.

This comes from the large archive of material preserved by family of Brevet Brig. Genl., Isaac Dyer (1820-1913,) Colonel of the 15th Maine. The group was published in North South Trader 11.1 (Nov-Dec 1983,) purchased in its entirety by a collector about the same time, and only recently dispersed. (The NST article wrongly reported it had been broken up in 1983.) Dyer, a native of Skowhegan, joined the 15th Maine as Lt. Colonel in late 1861, became Colonel in September 1862 and commanded it to the end of the war. The regiment took part in Butler’s expedition against New Orleans in early 1862, transferred to West Florida later in the year, and then returned to Louisiana in mid-1863 for Banks’s campaign along the Texas Coast and his Red River Campaign of 1864. In mid-1864, as part of the 19th Corps, they moved north, part of the regiment going to Bermuda Hundred and part to Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, where they were reunited in August at Monocacy Junction, Maryland. Posted for a time at Martinsburg, the reunited regiment, reorganized as veteran volunteers went to Washington in April and on to Georgia and South Carolina for occupation duty until 1866.

Dyer mustered out in September 1865. He received a brevet to Brigadier General as of March 1865, and reportedly had actual command of a brigade at Martinsburg in late 1864. The regiment took part in several active campaigns and expeditions, seeing action at Fort Esperanza, Sabine Crossroads, Pleasant Hill, Cane River Crossing and Mansura Plains. These are listed on the escutcheon along with Thibodeaux and Aransas Pass at the top. Dyer was well liked and very active in the G.A.R. and the regiment’s veteran association. This has never been mounted and is in excellent condition with no tears, great color and just a few light stains as shown.  [sr]

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