IDENTIFICATION DISK OF DOMINICH GALLAGHER, CO. M, 2nd PA CAVALRY

$895.00 SOLD

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Item Code: M26069

Here we have an ID disk in relic condition. These identification disks were popular among soldiers as they were not issued “dog tags” by the government at the time of the Civil War. However, sutlers and peddlers were happy to order, acquire, and then stamp pre-made silver or gilt-washed disks with the purchaser’s information. These disks came with an array of patriotic themes on them from George Washington to eagle motifs; the one stamped for Dominich Gallagher bears a raised Union shield which reads “AGAINST REBELLION, 1861.”

The identification side of this disk reads “D. GALLAGHER / 2nd / REGT / PA / CAVALRY.”

Much of the gilt wash has worn off but some remains in the low areas of the disk. More gilt remains on the shield side; very little gilt shows on the identification side of this badge. This ID disk is somewhat difficult to read, but using a flashlight helps to highlight the stamping and details.

A hole has been punched at the top and a small rusty attachment ring remains attached.

No definitive recovery location for this disk is present. However, a small note tag in the records written in modern pen ink notes “Donald Ponton, Petersburg, 1985.” The reverse has the details of the ID tag on it, leading one to believe these could be details related to recovery location and the person who recovered it.

When Private Dominich Gallagher mustered into company M of the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, his comrades described him as a strong, stout young man. That was September of 1861 and he had spent his time working as a laborer floating rafts down the river from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. He enlisted at Kittanning, a small town in Armstrong County, about one hour north of the city of Pittsburgh. In this part of Western Pennsylvania, lumbering was a big industry and networks of streams and rivers enabled lumbering and milling to fuel the economy in these areas.

During Gallagher’s service, the regiment saw action all throughout the war with the Army of the Potomac from early battles, such as Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, and Chantilly to Gettysburg and the Wilderness as well as many battles and skirmishes of the Richmond-Petersburg campaign. The regiment’s service culminated at Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Gallagher mustered out as sergeant major of company D in June, 1865.

Gallagher never received any battle wounds to speak of (at least not in the records). He did, however, suffer when he was kicked in one of his legs by a horse. Pension application depositions and affidavits from his comrades claim he was afflicted with varicose veins after his swift kick. However, there is one testimony from a doctor that attended him who says that he believes “his varix is greatly the result of intemperate use of alcoholics…” The examining surgeon also makes a point to say that he believes Gallagher’s statements should be taken with “suspicions as to their correctness… his habits are in some respects profligate.” These statements give us a possible glimpse into Gallagher’s personality.

Dominich Gallagher, born in 1835, was an immigrant from Donegal, Ireland who spent much of his life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Dugan shortly after he mustered out with the regiment on July 9th 1865 in Philadelphia. They had one daughter, Catherine. He found work as a constable post-war. He died of pneumonia in 1892; he is buried in Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh next to his wife.

Service records and pension records come with the disk.  [cls]

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