FIELD TRUNK, HAVERSACK & PISTOL CARTRIDGE BOX IDENTIFIED TO 37TH ILLINOIS LIEUTENANT

$450.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 545-34

The items in this group belonged to Lieutenant William C. Wilson of Company H, 37th Illinois Infantry. Wilson served throughout the war and saw action at Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Siege of Vicksburg, Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely.

The group of items consists of a field trunk made of wood and covered throughout with painted black canvas. The trunk is reinforced by three iron straps. Exterior shows wear and shadows of some missing leather straps and hardware but is otherwise in good condition. The leather handle of the trunk has separated but is present. Exterior measurements are approx.  23.25 inches long x 13.00 inches wide x 10.50 inches high. Upon opening the trunk there is a dropdown compartment in the lid but the leather pull tab to open it has broken off. Compartment is empty. The interior is lined with a white linen with dark linear decoration that gives the impression of bare tree branches all of which has browned with age. Lining has also become quite dirty over the years but it is holding up well and does not seem to be sagging or loose.

The lower section of the trunk contains a well-used pistol cartridge box. Leather is supple but does have some light surface crazing. Latch tab is complete but split and repaired long ago. Sewing needs redone. Lifting the flap exposed an interior that is in nice condition with a clear maker’s mark of “J. CUMMINGS SPRINGFIELD MASS.” The body of the box is good and has the brass finial at bottom. Reverse has two worn, stiff, but solid belt loops and shows a period repair to the back of the outer flap. Looking at the underside of the outer flap, there is a stenciled ID in one corner that reads “W. C. WILSON, 37th ILL. VOLS CO. B.”

Also in the trunk is Lieutenant Wilson’s haversack. The main bag meas. approx. 15.00 x 10.00 inches and is made of leather that at one time was japanned black. The body of the bag is made of two pieces sewn together with red thread. The fold over flap is sewn directly to the top edge of the back panel. Flap is held closed by two bone buttons. The flap meas. approx. 15.00 x 5.00 inches with two buttonholes. Inside, the bag has one main pocket and two smaller ones. The exterior of the body of the bag does have a stress separation in the bottom left corner that is approx. 6.50 inches long. The shoulder strap is present but fragile. It meas. 1.5 inches wide and is complete with adjustment buckles. Strap has one old repair at center and has another break close to wear it attaches to the bag. Underside of the strap is stenciled “W. C. WILSON, 37th ILL. VOLS CO. B.”

Also in the trunk is a tightly knit fringed doily meas. approx. 12.50 x 16.50 and is in solid condition.

The other items present are 3 bullets from the Prairie Grove battlefield in a modern display box, a Xeroxed picture of Wilson in uniform and a 1990 copy of “THE FREMONT RIFLES: A HISTORY OF THE 37th ILLINOIS VETERAN VOLUNTEER INAFANTRY” by Michael A. Mullins and published by Broadfoot Publishing. Volume runs 516 pages with index. Wilson is pictured in the book and is mentioned six times.

William C. Wilson was born in Norway in 1839. When he came to the United States is not known. He was living in Morristown when he enlisted as a corporal in Company H, 37th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on August 15, 1861. He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant on June 30, 1862, 1st lieutenant on May 20, 1863 and captain of Company A on October 1865. He was mustered out at Houston, Texas on May 15, 1866. During his service with the 37th he was assigned to the Ambulance Corps of the 3rd Division, 19th Corps from June to October of 1864.

The 37th Illinois saw action at Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Morganza and Fort Blakely.

Captain Wilson died in Morristown, Illinois on February 27, 1891 and is buried there in Morristown, Cemetery. [ad][ph:L]

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