G.A.R. COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SAMUEL RINNAH VAN SANT MEDAL GROUP, LATER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA, WITH TWO GOLD PRESENTATION BADGES

$5,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 480-199

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

This group consists of five pieces related to G.A.R. Commander-in-Chief Samuel Rinnah Van Sant, who served in the 9th Illinois Cavalry 1861-1864, and includes two very pretty, high-end presentation badges. Van Sant was prominent in the G.A.R., serving twice as commander of the John Ball Post, G.A.R., senior vice commander of the Department of Minnesota in 1894, the following year was commander, and from 1909-1910 was G.A.R. Commander in Chief. In between times, he served two terms as the governor of Minnesota, serving 1901-02 and 1903-04. In addition to the two multi-piece gold presentation badges, the group also includes his numbered G.A.R. membership badge, his actual currently serving Commander in Chief badge, and a small celluloid portrait pin.

The gold presentation badges are both multi-piece. One features a miniature shoulder strap bearing the two silver stars of a department commander in the intermediate position, below the top G.A.R. eagle pin clasp, indicating a past officer. From this is suspended a set of miniature crossed sabers with “Ill. CAVALRY” on a banderole above with a large “9” superimposed at center, for his service in the 9th Illinois Cavalry, from which is suspended the small company letter “A.” The gold G.A.R. star is beautifully rendered with a blue enamel border around the central motif and was set with diamonds or rubies at the five points. (The stones on both presentation badges were removed at some point for their inherent value, but the points are present and the stones could be replaced, with gems or glass.) The reverse is beautifully engraved: “Presented / to / S.R. Van Sant / Past Commander / Department of Minnesota / G.A.R. / By his Comrades / Minneapolis / Minn / 1896.”

The second presentation badge likewise has a G.A.R. eagle pin clasp at top and shoulder strap below, indicating prior rank. In this case the shoulder strap has four silver stars on a black ground indicating the Commander in Chief of the G.A.R. This is even more elaborate than the badge above. The centers of the stars were set with small stones as was the border of the strap and the points of the G.A.R. star at bottom. Below the rank bar is suspended a cavalry carbine and from that a beautifully rendered miniature banner with suspension bar and gold cords, showing a white 16th Army Corps badge on an orange-red background, with crossed sabers in white, which also had a precious stone at the center. This is unusual in that the 16th was one of the few army corps that included a substantial cavalry element. At bottom is the G.A.R. star, surrounded by a wreath. The central figures in gold are set on a blue enamel background and the circular border was also set with stones instead of simply bearing the G.A.R. designation with eligible dates of service. The star bears a beautifully rendered inscription on the reverse reading, “Samuel R. Vansant / Corporal Co. A / 9th Regt. Ills. Cav./ Commander / Department of Minnesota / 1894-5 / Governor of Minnesota / 1900-5 / Commander in Chief / G.A.R. / 1909-10.

The currently serving Commander-in-Chief G.A.R. membership badge by contrast is much plainer and functional, featuring a miniature shoulder strap with four silver stars on a black ground positioned at the top of a buff-bordered flag ribbon, with G.A.R. star at bottom. The badge shows wear, with tarnish to the silver stars and the bottom fold of the ribbon worn through by the suspension bar of the star, but is complete. Along with this is a standard G.A.R. membership badge, numbered on one edge, complete though with a little fading to the ribbon and some wear at lower right. The group is completed with a small celluloid pin with a bust portrait of Van Sant with his name printed at top.

Van Sant was born in 1844 at Rock Island, Illinois, and a sixteen year-old high school student when the war broke out. He tried several times to enlist, but was repeatedly rejected on account of his age until he at last obtained his father’s consent and succeeded enlisting 1 September 1861 and was mustered into Co. A 9th Illinois Cavalry as a private on Sept. 18. The regiment was extremely active in the western theatre, fighting in dozens of skirmishes, scouts, escort duties and cavalry expeditions, primarily in the Department of Missouri and the Department of the Tennessee, much of the time in the 16th Corps, seeing action in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Remarkably, they were equipped at one point with two twelve pound howitzers manned by a detail from the regiment to add firepower to their mobility. During Van Sant’s time in the regiment they fought at La Grange, Okolona, Coffeeville, Coldwater, Grenada, Salem, Moscow, Smith’s expedition against Forrest, Guntown, Pontotoe, Old Town Creek, Abbeville, Oxford, and Hurricane Creek, among other fights. Van Sant was discharged as a corporal at the expiration of his term of service in September 1864.

Van Sant returned to school after his army service, studying business and attending college briefly, but dropped out to apprentice at ship carpentry, rising to superintendent of the boat yard and eventually buying the operation with his father. They became very successful in the rafting and lumber business on the Mississippi, Samuel moving to Winona, Minnesota, for business reasons in 1883.  He entered politics as an Alderman, and was elected at least twice to the state legislature, serving as speaker of the house, and then served twice as governor. He died in 1936.

This is a wonderful group of G.A.R. veteran’s medals that combines strong eye-appeal and history.  [sr]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS,

CLICK ON ‘CONTACT US’ AT THE TOP OF ANY PAGE ON THE SITE,

THEN ON ‘LAYAWAY POLICY’.

THANK YOU!

Inquire »

Inquire About G.A.R. COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SAMUEL RINNAH VAN SANT MEDAL GROUP, LATER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA, WITH TWO GOLD PRESENTATION BADGES

should be empty