INSCRIBED WARTIME SECOND CORPS BADGE OF JOSEPH MOUNT 4TH NYHA

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Item Code: 490-2632

This is a wartime commercially made corps badge for the Second Army Corps engraved for a member of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery, a unit called into the field for Grant’s 1864 campaign. The badge is silver, in the three-leaf clover or trefoil shape indicating the Second Corps with a recessed miniature trefoil in the center filled with a red paint to indicate the first division. The soldier’s name, Joseph Mount is engraved in the left lobe in two lines, his company, “F,” in the top, and the unit in the right, “4th / N.Y.H.A.” The reverse has its T-bar pin and catch still in place.

Simple cloth corps badges were issued by the army after their adoption in 1863, but jewelers, sutlers, military goods dealers and other entrepreneurs realized there was a market for something fancier and a wide variety of badges were soon available from peddlers and by mail order. The 4th NY Heavy Artillery had been organized from late 1861 to early 1862. Initially composed of just eight companies, it was expanded to twelve in Fall 1863. Although Mount was born in central New York in October 1830, his parents were from New Jersey and he was living there, married, with at least one child, and a “master painter” by profession when he enlisted in the unit in New York City, mustering into Battery F as private on 1/14/62 and immediately being promoted corporal, likely because of his maturity.

The regiment spent its first two years posted to forts around Washington, drilling as heavy artillery and infantry. For some reason Mount decided being a corporal was not for him and at his own request he was reduced to the ranks 1/26/64, but apparently liked the army, re-enlisting as a veteran 2/16/64. His attitude may have changed a few months later when Grant activated the regiment, with several other heavy artillery regiments, for active field service. They served largely as infantry, though some companies did temporary service manning cohorn mortars and other guns, and they were occasionally called into service as part of the “siege train” to work on the fortifications facing Petersburg from their experience at Washington.

Initially serving with different army corps by battalion, the regiment was reunited in the Second Corps in June and officially assigned to the First Division in August, but Artillery units were sometimes considered as attached to corps rather than divisions and designated red as a badge color regardless, so we cannot be sure when Mount ordered it. Although serving in the field for only a year, the unit saw a lot of action in the climactic campaign of the war. CWData lists over 70 points at which they took casualties, losing 8 officers and 108 enlisted men just in killed or mortally wounded, some in the daily fighting at Petersburg and others in major battles such as Spotsylvania in May or the June 18 attack at Petersburg, Reams Station, etc.

Mount mustered out 8/25/65 at New York City, about a month before the regiment as a whole in Washington, indicating he may have been on leave or in hospital and returned to painting as profession in New Jersey. A fall from a broken scaffold while working atop a building in the 1890s partially crippled him, and by the time of his death at age 83 in 1914, he was living with his daughter and her family in Red Bank, New Jersey, where he had been a member the Arrowsmith G.A.R. post.

The badge is in very good condition with minor losses to the painted center and spots of tarnish that we would leave alone. The pin on the reverse is in place.  [sr] [ph:m]

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