1893 NEW YORK DAY AT GETTYSBURG: NY MONUMENT DEDICATION “MEDAL OF HONOR”

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Item Code: 766-1447

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New York commemorated the service of its soldiers at Gettysburg with the dedication of a state monument on the field in 1893. This stretched over the three-day thirtieth anniversary of the battle and in theory involved also the dedication or, in most cases, rededication of other New York monuments on the field as well. The state funded travel expenses for veterans of the battle to get there and the compiling of a list of eligible veterans became combined with the idea of New York “Medals of Honor” for veterans of the battle at the instigation of Daniel Sickles. The idea was adopted by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefield of Gettysburg on May 6, 1893. So these medals are something more than just souvenirs of the dedication, they were specifically awarded to men who had fought in the battle.

Permission was obtained from the Secretary of the Treasury to have the selected medal design struck in bronze at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and a circular dated May 24, 1893, was sent to the executive officers of each veteran organization requesting, “the utmost care to verify in every instance the fact that each and every applicant on their list was a veteran who participated with their command at the Battle of Gettysburg.” A total of 11,000 of these medals were struck, roughly 10,000 to be awarded according to the roles submitted to the Committee by August 1, 1893 and another 1,000 awarded on the basis subsequent applications that were vetted in part by comparison with the muster rolls of June 30 and August 31, 1863.

The bronze top bar includes the date of the battle in an arch at top, “July 1-2-3 1863” and “Gettysburg Veteran” across it. The medal is attached by suspension ring and the obverse shows the state seal at center and around it in raised letters, "Dedication of State Monuments at Gettysburg July 1, 2, 3 1893 - New York Day.” The reverse shows the state monument flanked by the dates 1863 and 1893 and surrounded by a laurel wreath. The medal is backed by a red, white and blue ribbon.

The bronze elements of this example are intact and have good detail and color. The ribbon is present, but shows numerous tears and fraying. These are attractive medals and have the added benefit of having been awarded to soldiers the state took great care to establish were actually present in the battle.  [SR] [ph:m/l]

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