WORLD CLASS ID’D MARYLAND SOLDIER’S BOILER/MESS CUP WITH LID

$1,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1081-12

This is a wonderfully identified soldiers tinned iron boiler or mess cup with lid. The cup measures about 4.75 inches tall without the lid and is made with the handle secured by two rivets and solder at the top, rather than wires, and one rivet at the bottom, conforming to the “Type-3” mess cup in Hedren’s typology, though likely a commercial, private purchase since it comes with a top, the edges of which hold it in place by friction inside the cup and which has a contoured stud on top, secured by a crudely cut washer on the underside.

Boldly stamped with individual letter punches on the side is, “SERGT W S ARMSTRONG / CO A 8TH MD. VOLS/ 2ND BRIGADE / 2ND DIVISION / 5TH. A. CORPS / A.P.” This is Wilmer S. Armstrong, born in Maryland in 1841 and died in Pennsylvania in 1919. He was a 20 year-old ironworker standing 5 feet 10 ½ inches tall with gray eyes, dark hair and fair complexion when he enlisted at Baltimore 8/13/1862 and mustered into Co. A of the 8th Maryland Infantry as a corporal on the same day. The regiment was assigned to Gen. Kenly’s brigade of Maryland troops in the 8th Corps (Middle Department,) serving at Williamsport and Harpers Ferry and vicinity until July 1863 when they were assigned to the 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac after Gettysburg, taking part in the pursuit of Lee, Rappahannock Station, the advance to the Rapidan, and the Bristoe and Mine Rum campaigns. With the dissolution of the 1st Corps in March 1864, they joined the 5th Corps, seeing action at Wilderness, Laurel Hill, Spotsylvania, the Harris Farm, and actions at Petersburg in 1864-1865, including the Weldon Railroad, Dabney’s Mills, Five Forks, and the pursuit of Lee in the Appomattox campaign. They returned to Washington in May 1865 to take part in the Grand Review and to muster out May 31, having lost 3 officers and 54 men killed or mortally wounded during their service.

Muster rolls list Armstrong as present with his company until Jan/Feb 1863 when he is detailed as corporal on the headquarters guard of Gen. Kenly, a post he holds, with some duty at division headquarters, until March 1864 when the regiment transfers into the 5th Corps and he returns to his company. He must have been a good soldier, not only was he selected for headquarters duty, but he was promoted sergeant 10/1/1864 during the Petersburg campaign. His only noted absences were a sick leave in Sept/Oct 1863 and another leave sometime in March/April 1865. He mustered out with the company at the end of May.

Given his dates of rank and the postings of the regiment, the stamping was done after June 1864, when the regiment moved from the 3rd to the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the 5th Corps, where they remained until the end of the war. Very likely he did it at the end of the war to commemorate his service and the prospect of parting with old comrades heightened his unit pride so as to mark it fully rather than something simpler like “1862 to 1865.” In any case, this has remarkably nice visual and display appeal, as well as a scarce Maryland association, and it was fitting and something a soldier would appreciate that he should choose such a piece of essential personal gear as a memento of some active campaigning.  [sr] [ph:L]

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