MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT’S WARTIME IDENTIFICATION BADGE, MASONIC PIN & EPHEMERA: OF THOMAS GILBERT, 18th NY BATTERY, MEDAL OF HONOR FOR HEROIC CONDUCT AT BATON ROUGE, 1864

$2,635.00 SOLD
Originally $2,950.00

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 480-227

Among other items, this grouping includes the Thomas Gilbert’s wartime identification disk made from a silver seated Liberty coin, polished smooth on one side and professionally engraved with his initials, TG, entwined in script at top, with a large cannon in the lower section, and “18th N.Y.” along the top of the barrel. The reverse has a T-bar pin and catch fitted. Along with this is a small T-bar back badge also made from a coin, this time cut in the shape of a star and crescent. Although this was used as the badge of the 7th Corps, Gilbert’s battery was not attached to that organization, and is more likely masonic. The grouping also includes a 1905 roster of the Medal of Honor Legion, organized in 1890 and lasting until 1918 when it was renamed and expanded to include recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross, and a white silk ribbon with a colored image of the Medal of Honor and the motto “DA FORTIBUS HONOREM’ (“Give honor to the strong,”) which we assume to be a motto of the Legion. We also include a printout copy of a Rochester, NY, newspaper clipping picturing Gilbert and some other veterans of “Mack’s Black Horse Artillery.”

Born in Scotland, Gilbert was a shoemaker when he enlisted at age 28 at Rochester 8/27/1862 and on 9/13/62 mustered into a battery of artillery variously known as the Black Horse Artillery, the Billinghurst Battery, and the 18th New York Independent Battery. Gilbert was described as standing 5’8” tall, with blue eyes, dark hair, and a fair complexion. The battery left the State December 2, 1862, and served in Sherman's Division, Department of the Gulf, from December 27, 1862; in the 2d Division, 19th Corps, from April, 1863; in the 1st Division, 19th Corps, from May, 1863; in the defenses of New Orleans, La., from August, 1863; in the Siege Artillery, General Canby's forces, from February, 1865; and mustered out July 20, 1865, at Rochester. These assignments put them in action under Banks with losses at Bisland, Brashear City, and Port Hudson in 1863 and in 1865 at Spanish Fort in the attack on the defenses of Mobile.

Gilbert’s award was made for a display of “coolness and nerve” in the words of “Deeds of Valor,” while the regiment was posted at Baton Rouge in 1864.

“On the 11th of October the officer in command of the battery directed Corporal Champany to repack the limber chest belonging to his gun.  It contained sixteen cartridges, each one holding two pounds of powder and thirty-two twenty-pound shell and shot.  About twenty of the shells were what are known as fuse shells, filled to the nozzle with powder and iron bullets, two being put in to keep the powder from spilling out.  The remainder of the missiles were solid shot, percussion shells and canister.  Having completed the repacking, Corporal Champany found that he could not close the lid without help and galled to Private Charles White to assist him.  The violent pressure they together put upon the lid in some way caused a terrific explosion, killing Champany almost instantly, throwing White seventy feet away, where he landed in a mud puddle, and blowing the chest to atoms. The first man to reach the scene of the tragedy was Private Thomas Gilbert, who narrates what happened as follows:

‘I ran to poor Champany, who, horribly burned and mangled, was still breathing, but just as I reached him, I noticed that the tow of some of the unexploded shells was burning.  Seizing a pail of water from a gunner nearby and calling loudly for more water, I dashed the contents of the pail on the burning shells.  Then, another pail of water having been brought, I picked up the twenty shells and dipped the burning end of each into the water. By this action the caissons of the entire battery and the lives of many men who had quickly gathered about, to say nothing of my own life, were saved.  The explosion was heard miles away and it became necessary to surround the battery with guards to keep the curious away.’"

Gilbert’s wartime badge is rare enough, coming from an artilleryman makes it even scarcer, and from one awarded the nation’s highest military honor, here given for saving the lives of his comrades as much as if they had been under enemy fire, makes it more significant still. Gilbert returned to Rochester, where he died in June 1922, leaving behind three daughters. [sr] [ph:m]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THIS ITEM, AS WITH ALL OTHER ITEMS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEB SITE,

MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH OUR LAYAWAY PROGRAM.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR POLICIES AND TERMS.

THANK YOU!

Inquire About MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT’S WARTIME IDENTIFICATION BADGE, MASONIC PIN & EPHEMERA: OF THOMAS GILBERT, 18th NY BATTERY, MEDAL OF HONOR FOR HEROIC CONDUCT AT BATON ROUGE, 1864

should be empty

featured item

ELABORATE PRESENTATION GRADE OFFICER’S SWORD WITH SCABBARD INSCRIBED TO CAPTAIN AUGUSTUS HOELZLE OF BATTERY K ARTILLERY OF THE 1ST DIVISION OF THE NATIONAL GUARD OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

This sword was probably sold by Schuyler, Hartley & Graham of New York. The pattern is pictured in their 1864 catalogue in figures 13 and 16. Rather than have a standard blade, the lightly curved 32 inch blade has "B.K." (Battery K) on the left… (870-447). Learn More »

Upcoming Events

21
May

June 25-26th: 49TH ANNUAL GETTYSBURG CIVIL WAR COLLECTORS' SHOW Learn More »

Instagram