Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sic Semper Tyrannis -- 1861 3rd Virginia Confederate Painted Civil War Drum

Compare the first
National Confederate Flag
(above right)
with the pattern painted on the drum

Original Confederate National Flag
That Flew over Atlanta
During the Siege of Atlanta.

Sic Semper Tyrannis (background field)
a Latin phrase meaning "thus always to tyrants"
Virginia (lower banner)

Cf. Shako of Virginia Military Institute
bears a similar design
absent the sunburst

The above shako is described as follows at Cowan's Auctions, Inc.'s website:

Lot #33, VMI FELT COVERED SHAKO, planchet with VMI and Sic Semper Tyrannis with image of Roman soldier with dagger in left hand and spear in right hand defiantly posed with his foot upon his fallen foe. Shield with three-quarter laurel wreath with Virginia below on a festooned ribbon on stippled background. Complete with single interlaced chains encompassing front half of the hat attached with two VMI Cadet buttons. Leather band encompassing base of hat. Leather chinstrap. Interior with glazed cotton lining. 6.5" height.

The motto "Sic Semper Tyrannis" is sometimes mistranslated as "death to tyrants". It was the official motto of Virginia and used following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Old Virginia Blog
September 1, 2007

Confederate Officer's
Virginia Sword Belt Buckle Plate


Seal of Virgina

Also see Virginia on Netstate.

was also the motto for the
22nd Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
according to a March 10, 2009 post to
Civil War Memory blog.

Organized at Philadelphia in January 1864, the 22nd U. S. Colored Troops Infantry Regiment lost 217 men during the last year of the Civil War. David Bustill Bowser was a self-taught black artist. He designed regimental flags for eleven African-American units and also painted portraits of Abraham Lincoln and John Brown. Ibid.

This Confederate button is from a Virginia militia and features the Virginia state motto of "Sic Semper Tyrannis" under an image of Virtus standing over a defeated Tyranny. Confederate buttons also featured thirteen stars representing the eleven states that made up the Confederacy and the two states that the Confederates hoped would eventually secede from the Union and join the Confederacy, Missouri and Kentucky. The George Washington Foundation, Archeology at Historic Kenmore.

eBay seller weiderman_gallery ( 2552) is offering eBay item no. 370233030943, described as follows sold at auction for $1,026.01:

This is a Fantastic, Super Rare, Early Civil War drum. This wonderful Old piece has a Great, Early design, with Beautiful paint, including the Confederate Flag, & a nailed on Brass Virginia state crest, is made of Wood, marked "CSA D - 3rd Virginia" & "Made by Baylor 1861" inside, measures approx. 16" x 15", appears to be 100% Civil War period and would be a wonderful addition to any collection. This was recently acquired from a Very Impressive Antique Militaria collection in Virginia, in which only the finest was included, and this is believed to be an actual field used piece. If you will look at our feedback, you will see that we've sold 100's of Original, Period Civil War items, and those buyers have always been very pleased. This appears to be in Very Good, Crisp condition, and displays MUCH better than the pictures show.

Editor's Note: Yes, it could be all of that. But my nose is twitching. The drum looks too clean. Sorry, but something about it makes me question its purported age. Could it be from 1861? Sure. But the paint, the rope, the leather, the heads all look just too good. Perhaps it was "restored". But to have been an "actual field used piece" as described and to be in the condition it appears to be in, just raises a caution flag. I could be wrong.


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