Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rare "Colored Regiment" (55th) Engraved Brass Drum

eBay seller heritageauctionsinc( 66) is auctioning this brass drum engraved with the name and regiment of its owner Thomas Baker of the 55th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers (eBay no. 260311307924) from its catalog "2008 NOV Signature Civil War Auction #6015":

Most Rare, Probably Imported, Brass Body Civil War Infantry Drum, Inscribed on the Body in Period Script Engraving, "Thomas Baker 55th Regt. Mass. Vols." The 55th Massachusetts was the second 'colored' regiment formed in the Union army and its nucleus was the men left over from the recruits of the famed 54th Mass., with Col. Norwood Halowell of the 54th commissioned as the regiment's commander. Typically for black regiments, the unit's early months of service were occupied with fatigue duty in South Carolina. Finally on Feb. 20, 1864, alongside the 54th Mass. the regiment was engaged at the Battle of Olustee, Fla. They were subsequently engaged, again with the 54th, at James Island, S. C. on July 2. The regiment was heavily engaged at Honey Hill, where it lost 139 men killed and wounded. Baker, an 18 year old black laborer from Xenia, OH., enlisted in the 55th May 13, 1863, and was present, doubtless accompanied by this drum, at all the actions listed above serving until discharged on August 29, 1865. This is one of only two black infantry regimental drums known to exist. A remarkable Civil War artifact of inestimable rarity and value.

Estimate: US $12,000.00 - US $15,000.00

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