SMITH PATENT DOUBLE BORDER INFANTRY 1st LIEUTENANT STRAPS OF CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT JOHN M. DEANE, 29th MASSACHUSETTS

$2,250.00

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Item Code: 1164-31

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This pair of infantry first lieutenant shoulder straps is part of a significant trove of artifacts preserved by John M. Deane and his the family that we are offering in separate sales. These were preserved in a folded piece of lined paper that is inscribed in ink: “1st Lieuts Straps worn / by John M. Deane / 29th Mass. Vols.” This was likely labeled by Deane himself. On occasion he says something was “worn by me” and the handwriting appears to match.

These are the Smith Patent shoulder straps using false embroidered borders and rank bars of gilt stamped brass to imitate bullion embroidery. These are fastened by bent-over pins on the reverse to a base an interior stiffener with light blue wool on the top to indicate infantry and a dark blue wool on the underside. Both the rank bars and the borders were stamped to imitate double rows of bullion. These are in excellent condition with no moth damage and some rubbing to the gilt on high points of the brass, but with substantial amounts remaining.

A 29-year old teacher when the war broke out, Deane had been in the Massachusetts militia and was one of the “Massachusetts Minutemen of 1861,” joining the 3rd MVM in going to Washington on news of Fort Sumter. They served three months, evacuating and firing the Gosport Navy Yard and garrisoning Fortress Monroe. Deane mustered out 22 July 1861 and in June 1862 was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the 29th Massachusetts, making 1st Lt. 12/29/62; Adjutant 11/1/63; Captain 6/8/64, and Major 5/15/65 with a later brevet to Major of U.S. Vols to date 3/25/65. He was mustered out 8/8/1865 and in later years lived in Freetown, Mass., where he was a member of Richard Borden G.A.R. Post #46, and died 9/2/1914.

The 29th Mass. served in the Irish Brigade in the Peninsula Campaign and at Antietam, fighting at the Sunken Road. Transferred to the 9th Corps, they served in  Mississippi and Tennessee in 1863, returned east and were briefly in the 5th Corps before rejoining the 9th again for Grant’s overland and Petersburg campaigns. Seeing action at Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, and Fort Stedman, where Deane was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for helping to man an artillery piece under heavy fire and aiding in the repulse of the Confederate attack. The regiment lost 4 officers and 53 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during their service. Deane penned several of the regiment’s official reports for 1864 and 1865, and his letters have been published. He was credited with participation in twenty battles. [sr] [ph:L]

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