INSCRIBED WARTIME GOLD AND ENAMEL 9th CORPS BADGE OF CHARLES LYMAN 14th NY HEAVY ARTILLERY, INFANTRY IN 1864: 215 BATTLE DEATHS, 440 WOUNDED!

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In a time when the market is flooded with fake corps badges it is nice to handle some real ones. This a gold 9th Corps badge, made in the shield shape of the corps with the fouled anchor and cannon as a reminder of its origins in Burnside’s coastal expedition. The cannon and anchor are filled with red enamel, some of which has chipped out, surrounded by a delicate ric-rac border and tiny engraved flourishes. An exact parallel, in silver with third division blue enamel, can be seen in Phillips Corps Badges p. 49 plates 3 and 4. These were among the higher-grade badges available for purchase by mail order by firms such as B.T. Hayward and from sutlers and peddlers licensed by provost marshals within various commands and departments. The reverse has its T-bar pin in place and is also delicately engraved in three lines for the owner: “C Lyman – Co. E – 14th N.Y.H.A.” with the name in script, the rest in thin block letters, and with flourishes around the company and letter in the middle line. The regiment fought as infantry in Grant’s climactic and bloody 1864 Overland Campaign, which helped decide the war.

The corps served in the east in 1862; the western theatre (Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee) in 1863; and went back to the east in 1864, where it served directly under Grant alongside the Army of the Potomac, and then was formally reintegrated into that army in August, having seen heavy fighting at Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, where it continued to serve to the end of the war.

The 14th New York Heavy Artillery mustered into service from August 1863 to January 1864, and was assigned to the 9th Corps to serve as infantry, from April 23, 1864. Charles Lyman had been born in Ireland and was a harness maker when he enlisted at age 19 on January 4, 1864. He was described as 5’7” tall, with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion. He mustered into Co. E of the 14th NY Heavy Artillery the next day and was present with the company and regiment into October 1864 when he is listed as absent sick and was subsequently enrolled the 7th Company, 2nd Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps. He was discharged for disability from Lincoln General Hospital in Washington, DC, June 19, 1865. (Some records erroneously have him mustered out with the 14th NYHA.)

Lyman was with the regiment during its hardest battles and fighting: Wilderness, Spottsylvania, the Ny River, the North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cold Harbor (losing 15 killed, 43 wounded, 16 missing,) the June 17 assault on Petersburg (costing 38 killed, 152 wounded, and 60 missing,) and the mine explosion, (where it lost 19 killed or mortally wounded, 35 wounded who recovered, and 78 missing,) as well as actions at Weldon Railroad, Poplar Grove Church, and numerous daily losses in the trenches. Of the regiment’s battles with casualties listed by Phisterer he missed only Hatchers Run, Fort Stedman, and the final assault on Petersburg. Most of the regiment’s casualties were suffered while Lyman was with it. They lost a stunning total of 215 officers and men killed or mortally wounded during their service, along with another 440 wounded who were listed as recovered. It was a heavy price that placed them among Fox’s “fighting regiments.”

This is a great badge, dead-real, one that you can sleep at night owning, and with some research yet to be done. It has great eye appeal and a great history.  [sr] [ph:L]

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