CIVIL WAR CAVALRY IDENTIFICATION SHIELD OF CHARLES H. DIBBLE, 22nd NEW YORK CAVALRY

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Item Code: 1179-634

Very nice condition wartime silver identification shield of a Union cavalry private in a regiment that saw a lot of action in 1864-65 with the Army of the Potomac and Army of the Shenandoah. The army did not supply identification tags or badges. These were all privately purchased from sutlers, jewelers, and by mail-order from makers advertising in newspapers and flyers. They were produced in a wide variety of shapes and formats. Civil War material doesn’t get much more personal.

This is a silver shield with narrow zig-zag impressed border line with the soldier’s name, “C.H. Dibble” in large letters at the top, with his hometown, “NORWICH, N.Y.” is smaller letters underneath. (The engraver used commas instead of periods.) Running along the lower left edge in simple sans-serif letters is “22 N.Y. VOL.” and along the right edge, “CAVALRY” with a large, shaded company letter “L” at bottom center. The center is decorated with an eagle with raised wings in profile perched on a pair of crossed sabers, within a simple shield-shaped border imitating the contours of the badge edge. The reverse is fitted with typically wartime T-bar pin back. The badge has a nice untouched patina.

Charles Henry Dibble was born in 1845 and was a farmer in North Norwich, NY, when he enlisted in Co. L of the 22nd NY Cavalry on 1/5/64 at Plymouth, NY, at age 18. He was described as standing 5’4” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion when he mustered into Co. L of the 22nd NY Cavalry on 2/12/64, and served with the regiment until it mustered out 8/1/65 at Winchester, VA.

The regiment was organized beginning in late 1863 with companies recruited in central and western New York and mustered in for three years by company from December 1863 to February 1864. They left the state 3/8/64 and Civil War Data lists more than thirty occasions on which they took casualties of some sort (killed, wounded or missing,) confirming the assessment of “The Union Army” that the regiment, “considering the short time in the field, saw much hard fighting and sustained heavy losses. Its first service was with the 9th corps, after which it joined the 2nd brigade, 3d cavalry division, Army of the Potomac, for the Wilderness campaign.  After Oct., 1864, it served with the Army of the Shenandoah in the campaigns in that valley, and from Feb., 1865, with the cavalry division, Army of West Virginia. It lost heavily at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, on Wilson's raid to the South Side and Danville railroads, and at the battle of Nineveh. It fought its final engagements at Fort Holly, New Market and Rude's Hill, Va.”

The regiment’s casualties included 3 officers and 22 men killed or died of wounds, another 61 officers and men who were wounded, but recovered enough at least to be discharged. 87 of those captured by the enemy died in Confederate hands. “The Union Army” notes,  “The regiment especially distinguished itself at Kearneysville, Dinwiddie Court House and White Oak swamp.”

Dibble, having served “1 year, 7 months, and 25 days,” according to the 1890 veteran census, returned home to Norwich, where he is listed in 1870 as a painter by profession, and was an early member of the G.A.R., joining the E.B. Smith Post 83, Dept. of NY, in Norwich on June 23, 1874, at age 28. He had married in 1868 and had three sons: one died as an infant and another as a young man, but the third seems to have lived into the 1960s and was likely the caretaker of this badge.  [sr]   [ph:m]

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