IDENTIFICATION DISK OF PRIVATE GEORGE L. BROWN OF THE 12TH NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEERS, MORTALLY WOUNDED AT CHANCELLORSVILLE

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Item Code: 490-3754

These ID disks were offered by sutlers for private purchase to soldiers while in camp and typically were made of brass, tin, or pewter. Other ID badges are prevalent as well, some in the shape of a Union shield and others made of silver or tin washed silver. This particular disk style of badge was readily available for purchase and the sutler would simply stamp the soldier’s name, company, regiment, and hometown on the blank face of the badge. The reverse of these badges typically features a patriotic figure or symbol such as President Lincoln, General McClellan, a war eagle, or a Union shield.

The example featured here reads: G.L. BROWN / CO. I. / 12th REG. / NH.V. / NEW HAMPTON.

The reverse bears the war eagle with a Union shield and arrows in his talons. The top reads “War of 1861,” while the bottom reads “United States.”

Records state that Private Brown died of a gunshot wound received in action at Chancellorsville; however, he died in the Army Square General Hospital in Washington, D.C. on May 22, 1863. Brown was one of more than 300 casualties sustained while the regiment was posted near the Chancellor House at the battle of Chancellorsville on May 2nd and 3rd.  Private Brown was shot through the left chest, through the lung. We can assume that he was wounded in the melee when Whipple’s division came face to face with the men of Pender’s brigade on the 3rd of May.  Less than 100 men were present for duty after the battle on May 5th.

The 12th New Hampshire was part of Whipple’s command as colonel at their muster-in in September 1862, and while Whipple gained command, the men of the 12th remained under his divisional command in Sickles’ 3rd corps of the Army of the Potomac. The regiment spent its beginnings in the defenses of Washington and then in camp at Falmouth in the winter of 1862. The regiment was set for the assault on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg but luckily the assault was cancelled and their ranks remained intact with only seven casualties. Their next deadly assault was Chancellorsville.

And at Gettysburg, the 12th New Hampshire came to blows in the infamous Peach Orchard on July 2nd and again on the 3rd when they supported the center of the Union line during Pickett’s Charge. The regiment mustered only 50 men after Gettysburg. The regiment was then ordered to garrison duty in Maryland thereafter.

In April of 1864, the regiment was moved to the 18th corps and supported Butler’s operations around Petersburg and Richmond at battles such as Cold Harbor and in the siege of Petersburg. The 12th New Hampshire finished out the war in occupation of Richmond.

George L. Brown was born to parents Silas, a farmer, and Abigail (Wiggins) Brown in 1838 in Grafton, New Hampshire. Silas and Abigail were married one year earlier on New Year’s Day in 1837.  He had two siblings, one younger brother, Edward, and a younger sister, Sarah.

Private Brown’s father, Silas, was awarded George’s pension; his mother died in early 1862. His mother and father rest in Meredith Village Ceremony, in Meredith, New Hampshire. Private Brown was buried May 23rd, just one day after his death, in 1863 outside of General Hospital No. 31 in the nation’s capital.   [cls] [ph:L]

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