BEAUTIFUL CARVED WOODEN PIPE IDENTIFIED TO CAPTAIN JAMES POWERS OF CO. A, 3rd VERMONT

$3,250.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 766-1817

This folk-art carved pipe is one of a kind! It bears a bas-relief carved Union Eagle at the face of the pipe carrying an “Army of the Potomac” banner in its beak with arrows and laurel in its talons. The shank of the pipe has carved in cursive lettering: CO. A / 3 VT REG. The sides of the shank are carved in cursive as well: CAPT J POWERS / WAR OF 1861, 2, 3. There are small clovers or flowers carved throughout and act as periods or commas would.

The top of the bowl shows some significant burn marks. The inside of the bowl does as well, indicating that this pipe was actually used more than a time or two and likely travelled with Captain Powers throughout his time of service. These types of pipes were often carved by soldiers to pass the time in camp and often provided them with a good smoke while on the march.

This pipe measures 7 inches long from the bottom of the bowl to the rim of the stem by 3.75 inches in width from the front face of the bowl to the back side where the wooden shank is. Overall, the carved bowl, silver ferrule, and gutta percha stem are all in great condition. Although, the silver ferrule is tarnished from time and use.

This beauty came to us by way of an auction house in New Hampshire and it is identified to a soldier by the name of Captain James Powers, who commanded company A of the 3rd Vermont. Powers wasn’t born a Vermonter, though. Records show that he was born in Ireland and emigrated to Canada and thereby came to Vermont; he actually lived in New Hampshire, but it appears that he bounced around New England during his lifetime.

Captain Powers enlisted in the 3rd Vermont initially in company I as a private beginning June 11th 1861; two months later, Powers was promoted to Captain and was transferred to company A. He served out his time with the 3rd VT as Captain until he resigned his commission shortly after Gettysburg when he contracted sickness of the lungs. Less than six months later, the disease had killed Captain Powers.

Sadly, Powers’ children applied for his pension since his wife was also deceased. His pension records include an affidavit from 2nd Lt. Charles E. Osgood who served under Captain Powers in Co. A. Osgood attests that Powers died of disease contracted while serving with the 3rd Vermont.

… sometime in July 1863 contracted a cold while on picket near Warrenton, VA, which was followed by a season of sickness; that said Powers remained sick till August 1863 when he resigned his commission; that said Powers died, as he believes, January 3, 1864 of disease of the lungs, which he believes was a result of the cold contracted as above set forth…

After further perusal of Powers’ pension file, he initially completed his pension application on behalf of his children. We also learn from these records that his wife, Harriet, had died, leaving Powers a widower with three young children. The records also state that Harriet’s mother removed the children to Orono, Maine when their mother died. Captain Powers went to Orono to be with his children when he resigned his commission from the Army and there he died in January 1864.

The famed Vermont brigade (not to be confused with Stannard’s Vermont brigade) is known as a hard-fighting regiment that earned their stripes during the Peninsula Campaign, namely during the battle at Savage’s Station. They also saw action at many crucial engagements throughout the war such as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg (arriving late, the Vermont Brigade was deployed on the extreme right of the Union line to protect the flank), and many battles during Grant’s Overland Campaign most notably at Spotsylvania where they led the attack on the mule shoe salient. The regiment was part of a fierce charge at Cold Harbor which resulted in heavy casualties and Cedar Creek was a tough fight for the Vermont Brigade as a whole. These Vermonters were a fierce bunch who were hard fought; their reputation hard-won.

This pipe is a great piece with of soldier art that has some real personal history. It would make a killer addition to any collection since it is truly a one-of-a-kind piece.  [cls] [ph:L]

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