IMPRESSIVE PERIOD FRAMED DISPLAY OF WARTIME AND POSTWAR VETERAN MATERIAL OF LT. EDGAR G. STOWELL, 92nd NY, WIA FAIR OAKS, INCLUDING HIS IDENTIFICATION DISK AND CDV IN UNIFORM, MESS UTENSILS, AND CAMP ART RINGS

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This is a great framed display of wartime and postwar veteran’s memorabilia belonging to  Lieutenant Edward G. Stowell of the 92nd NY. The items include a wartime carte-de-visite photo of Stowell in uniform as 2nd lieutenant, tacked in the center of the display showing him from the knees up and cradling his slouch hat. The display also includes his wartime identification disk with his name on one side and battle honors on the other. The disk appears to be white metal with a silver wash. One side has a roped border inside a raised edge and reads in stamped letters, “Lieut. E.G. STOWELL / 92d REG. / N.Y. Vol. / MASSENA.”  The other has a roped border with a knotted wreath inside, open at the top with “WAR OF 1861” in raised letters. In smaller raised letters in the lower curve of the wreath is “ENGAGED IN THE ABOVE BATTLES,” with the list in stamped block letters reading from top to bottom as follows: “YORK TOWN / WILLIAMSBURG / FAIR OAKES / MALVERN HILL / KINGSTON / WHITE HALL / GOLDSBORO / FT ANDERSON.”

In addition to that, there is his wartime combination knife, fork and spoon from his mess gear, a wood ring carved from a piece of the USS Congress- sunk by the Merrimac- and a wood and a bone ring made by a comrade at Fort Monroe in 1862 (perhaps while he was recovering from his wound.) All three pieces are labeled by him on brown ink tags that are slighty faded and stained, but fully legible. The ring is a particularly attractive example of wartime camp art, carved in the form of book on the top of the ring, decorative in red and blue on the white bone and titled, “BIBLE” on the cover.

Postwar material consists of about 25 GAR and veteran’s pins and ribbons, including his GAR medal at upper left. Several of the ribbons relate to Tracy Post. No. 52 G.A.R. in Guthrie Center, Iowa. These are all mounted on a small US flag, with two smaller US flags in the upper corners. We note a narrow black ribbon border added over the flag, perhaps making it a memorial piece, but the brown ink tags, with specific details about the rings for instance, appear to be in his hand. He had been born 5/26/1832 in Windsor County, VT, and died 4/19/1917 in Marshalltown, IA, a widower, but survived by one son. From the ribbons it is clear he was an active member of the G.A.R. and is listed in Iowa G.A.R. records.

Edgar G. Stowell, enlisted at age 29 at Potsdam, NY, on 10/10/1861 and mustered in as a sergeant in Co. A of the 92nd NY Vol Infantry. The regiment first saw action as part of the 4th Corps on the Peninsula, at Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Bottom’s Bridge, and suffered their first casualties Fair Oaks on 5/31/62 where they lost 105 officers and men including 16 killed or mortally wound, with Stowell among the 61 wounded, with further action in the Seven Days Battles, with Malvern Hill among Stowell’s battle honors, suggesting he was back in the ranks by that time. The regiment was posted to Suffolk, Va., in November and later to New Berne, NC, as part of the Department of Virginia, Dept. of North Carolina, then the combined departments, becoming part of the 18th Corps. Stowell was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant 11/24/62 with rank from 7/12/62. They took part in the expedition to Goldsboro (Goldsborough) in December 1863 with fighting at Kinston, Whitehall Bridge, and Goldsboro Bridge. In 1863 they were engaged at New Bern and twice at Fort Anderson, N.C. In April 1864 became part the Army of the James, moving to the Richmond and Petersburg front, seeing continued action at Drewry’s Bluff, Bermuda Hundred, the fierst and second assaults at Cold Harbor, and at Petersburg and Chaffin’s Farm. Their last engagement was a fitting bookend to their service, a second fight at Fair Oaks freom October 27-29, 1864, at Fair Oaks, once again, costing them 31 casualties. They mustered out January 7, 1865, having lost 1 officer and 46 men killed in action, another 23 men mortally wounded, along with 11 officers and 181 men wounded, who recovered to some degree.

Dyer’s Compendium provides the following, more detailed service record of the regiment: Left New York for Washington, D.C., March 5, 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10–15, 1862. Ordered to the Peninsula, Virginia, March 28. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Reconnaissance toward Lee's Mills April 29. Battle of Williamsburg May 5. Operations about Bottom's Bridge May 21–23. Near Seven Pines May 29–30. Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks May 31-June 1. New Market Road June 8. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Bottom's Bridge June 27–28. White Oak Swamp June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Moved to Fort Monroe August 16–23. Duty there until September 18. Moved to Suffolk, Va., September 18, and duty there until December. Reconnaissance to Franklin October 3. Affairs on the Blackwater October 9, 26, 29, and 30. Franklin October 31. Ordered to New Bern, N.C., December 4. Foster's Expedition to Goldsborough, N.C. December 11–20. Actions at Kinston December 14, Whitehall December 16, Goldsborough December 17. Duty at and near New Bern until April 1864. Operations against Whiting January 18-February 10. Fort Anderson March 14, 1863. Expedition to relief of Little Washington April 7–10. Beech Grove and Batchelor's Creek, near New Bern, February 1–3, 1864. Ordered to Yorktown, Va., April 28, 1864. Butler's operations on the south side of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond May 4–28. Occupation of City Point and Bermuda Hundred May 5. Swift Creek or Arrowfield Church May 8–10. Operations against Fort Darling May 12–16. Battle of Drury's Bluff May 14–16. Bermuda Hundred May 16–27. Moved to White House, then to Cold Harbor, May 27–31. Battle of Cold Harbor June 1–12. Before Petersburg June 15–18. Wier Bottom Church June 20. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16 to December 1, 1864. Hare's House June 24 and 28. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (reserve). Duty in the trenches before Petersburg and on the Bermuda Hundred front until September 26. Battle of Chaffin's Farm, New Market Heights. September 28–30. Battle of Fair Oaks October 27–28. Duty in the trenches before Richmond north of the James River until December.

The “Union Army” mentions that after service at Fort Anderson, the regiment returned to New Bern in August 1863, serving there as garrison until called to Virginia in April 1864. Given the engagements on Stowell’s identification disk, he likely acquired the disk while posted in New Bern, giving him time to wear it in the 1864 campaigns. A copy of a November 8, 1864, letter from the Adj. Gen. Office to the Governor of N.Y. in his NY muster roll abstract says he was discharged at expiration of his term on service on 10/25/64, just prior to the regiment’s last engagement at Fair Oaks, but this may be simple bookkeeping of some sort: published records, including Phisterer’s record of NY officers lists him as mustering out with the regiment on 1/7/1865. His index card for the Dept. of Iowa G.A.R. names some of his battles as Yorktown, Williamsburg, Richmond, Cold Harbour (sic,) and Fair Oaks. The last may be because of his wounding there in 1862, but since it is out of sequence it may refer to the regiment’s last engagement there and confirm other records that he was with them to the very end.

This is a great display that would fit a collection of 92nd NY material, identification disks, and G.A.R. material as well.  [sr] [ph:L]

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