Sunday, December 13, 2009

Union Drummer Boy's Drum

c. 1862, Civil War Identified, Union Drummer Boy's Drum, Sticks, & Ambrotype Photograph of Veteran John Joseph Reiser.

This is an original, rare antique Civil War Union Drummer Boy's Drum, Sticks, plus an accompanying Ambrotype Photograph, of Veteran John Joseph Reiser. The Drum measures 17" wide x 9.25" high, being the personal property of John Joseph Reiser.

John Reiser was originally enlisted as a Drummer Boy into Company A, 4th Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Infantry on Nov. 16, 1861 at Baltimore. He then transferred into Company G, 3rd Regiment, of the same Infantry where he served as a soldier for three years. He was so young, his mother persuaded his father to join the same unit, "in order to look after him," but they fought together in only one engagement, the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Va. August 3, 1862. In that conflict the son cared for his father, carrying him to a dressing station after finding him wounded on the field of battle. The drummer boy received a flesh wound at the Battle of Antietam, said to have been the bloodiest battlefield during any single day in the history of the world up to that time. He found his brother dying on the battle field and was with him until his death. Later he found his wounded father who lived long enough to return home where he later died of his wound.

John Joseph Reiser participated in nine major battles and numerous skirmishes, all of which are Recorded in Period Ink being Written as Documentation on the top skin of the drum. The Regiment was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 12th and 20th Corps. Army of the Potomac and Army of Cumberland, and Participated in the following engagements; Cedar Mountain, Va. August 3, 1862; Antietam, Md. Sept. 17th, 1862; Chancellorville, May 1 to 4th, 1863; Gettysburgh, Pa. July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1863; Wauhatchie, Tenn. Oct. 28th, 1863; Lookout Mountain, Resaca, Ga. May 8th to 13th, 1864; Marietta, Ga. and Kenesaw Mountain, June 9th to 30th, 1864; Peachtree Creek, Ga. July 19th, 1864; Atlanta, Ga. Sept. 2nd, 1864, and numerous skirmishes.

He was honorably discharged at the age of 19 under the command of General Sherman as a private on Nov. 12, 1864, at Chattanooga, Tenn. at the end of his enlistment. By the end of the war he was one of only two survivors from his Regiment and he had one of the longest service records of any Civil War veteran in Michigan. Reiser died Feb. 23rd, 1932 at the age of 85. The drum is said to be the very same one seen in the ambrotype, although it was later modified, by being reduced in size after the war, which was a common practice. A comprehensive family history will accompany this lot, including the drum, sticks and Ambrotype photo of John Reiser. The bottom drum skin is original and has a 5.5" tear and a second smaller star shaped tear. The Ambrotype Photo is dated underneath in pencil, "May 1862", "J. Reiser."
It is our best opinion that the Drum, Sticks, Ambrotype Photo and the ink writing documentation of battles recorded on the top skin of the drum is authentic and of the period. Not being present at the time, the possibility remains that the ink writing on the top skin may have been accomplished immediately after each battle, or at some point just after the war. A very unique collection with a remarkable heroic story of this very young, Union Drummer Boy.

Source: Live Auctioneers, Lot 371, Militaria.

sold for $7,500
9:00 AM PT - Aug 30th, 2009
offered by
Early American
P.O. Box 3507
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Identified Civil War Union Drummer Boy Actual Drum


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