ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING GROUPING IDENTIFIED TO PRIVATE WILLIAM W. HEATH OF THE 4TH VERMONT INFANTRY, WITH GETTYSBURG CONTENT! [KILLED IN ACTION AT THE WILDERNESS]

$2,950.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 2021-801

The grouping itself consists of an early war 8th plate tintype of Heath as well as both his 1863 diary and New Testament. A resident of Newbury, VT, William would muster at Battleboro in Company H of the 4th Vermont Volunteer Infantry on September 21, 1861. For 2 months during the early part of 1862 Heath would work as a hospital nurse. November 1863 up until January 1864 would see him on detached service back home in Vermont on recruiting duty. Despite his absences from the regiment at various times, he would be present to participate in the “Mud March” as well as the storming of Marye’s Heights during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg. He would also fight in the war’s most telling battle, Gettysburg. The regiment would be positioned on the extreme left of the line near the Third Day and he made several notations in his diary regarding it.

Immediately following Gettysburg he would be engaged at Funkstown as they pursued the fleeing Rebels. The remainder of 1863 would see the regiment in New York City helping to maintain order during and after the Draft Riots, before heading back to Virginia in the Fall. December 1, 1864 his term would expire and he would be discharged. He would however re-enlist on the 13th of February. He would not live to see the war’s end. Just 3 months after re-enlisting he would be killed in action while fighting at the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.  Heath is buried in Oxbow Cemetery in Newbury, VT.

Heath is shown in this 8th plate tintype, presumably not long after his enlistment. Dressed in a sharp new frock with full accouterments, his M1841 rifle is held at his side with the saber bayonet attached. On the ground at his feet lay a M1858 canteen with the blue wool cover and white linen strap. To the other side lay his full knapsack and gum blanket along with his bedroll and a full tarred canvas knapsack.

Both the bible and diary are in exceptional condition. The inside cover of the bible is inscribed, “Wm. W. Heath Newbury, Vermont Oct. 8, 1861 4 Regiment Vermont Volunteer Comp H.” The inside of the diary is also inscribed: “Wm. W. Heath Co. H 4th Regt Vt. Vol. Book Jan. 1, 1863”. The diary covers from that date up until December 21, 1863.  He does chronical his involvement in Gettysburg. On July 2 he notes, “…marched to Gettysburg today”. Of the 3rd he writes, “On the lines today. A skirmishing today. A hard fight on the right today”. The “hard fight on the right” he mentions here was in fact Pickett’s Charge. Towards the back of the diary Heath lists all of the engagements in which he was involved and there are many. He also makes a few notes about clothing he was issued and other related notes of interest. He did write a note on the back cover: “If you find this book would you give it to me for it is mine. Wm. W. Heath Co. H 4th Regt Vt. Vol.”

This grouping does come with a boat load of rock-solid documentation from the original owner, who purchased the grouping from Heath’s descendants in Lewiston, ME back in 1962. His original transcription of the diary as well as his original research on Heath is included. The image of Heath was published on the cover of the 1991 September – October issue of Military Images and was also published in a 2014 edition of the North South Trader. Both the original Military Images magazine and several pages from the North South Trader are included.

Groupings like this are getting hard to find!  [ph:L]

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