Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1862 Rhode Island Civil War Drum and Discharge Papers on PBS' Antiques Roadshow

Appraised on: June 30, 2007
Appraised in: Orlando
Appraised by: Rafael Eledge
Category: Arms & Militaria
Episode Info: Orlando, Hour 3 (#1206)
Originally Aired: February 11, 2008

Appraisal Video: (3:00)

Appraisal Transcript:
GUEST: I brought this Civil War drum. It's from my great-grandfather, from the Rhode Island area, and a certificate that shows that he was actually the drummer in the Civil War.

APPRAISER: Right. And, if you notice, it mentions that he is a drummer of Company L in the Ninth Regiment of Rhode Island Infantry. And it's an interesting regiment that he was in. The Ninth was raised because they were afraid that Washington, D.C., would be occupied by the Confederacy. In May of 1862, General Stonewall Jackson had had decisive battle victories at Winchester and in the Shenandoah Valley. The next step, they were right at Washington, D.C. And so President Lincoln says, "We've got to have regiments to defend the city." He sends a letter to the governor of Rhode Island, and they call up the Ninth Infantry. They're sent there to guard Washington, D.C. And if you notice, the drum also has the matching Ninth Regiment, "RI" for Rhode Island Infantry, and Company L. It has everything on it that you would expect. They were only in service for three months, which is why the drum is in such beautiful condition as far as the paint. It has bright colors. It's a beautiful drum. The heads do come off. It's in need of some restoration.

GUEST: Right.

APPRAISER: If you notice right here, we have the maker's label-- from Horsman of Philadelphia, one of the premier makers during the Civil War. They made things, and they also retailed items for military use. We have both of the original heads. All we're missing is, basically, the tension ropes. We have the snare on the bottom. The discharge... Has it been in the family the whole time?

GUEST: Yeah. Actually, I was going through a trunk, finding things to maybe bring, and I found this only, like, a week ago.


GUEST: And connected it to the drum.

APPRAISER: That's great, because it mentions in there that he is a drummer boy in the discharge. The discharges you do encounter, because every Union soldier that survived would have gotten one, and that was their ticket, in later years, to be able to draw a pension.

GUEST: Right.

APPRAISER: A lot of drums were surplus, meaning they never saw service. And they'll actually come out, and you won't have the regiment, you won't have the state, and you won't have the company. They would paint the basic drum, and then, once it made it into the field, the drummer boy himself, or somebody in the regiment, would add that information on it. Which personalizes the drum, so it's not only do we have his discharge, we've got his input on the drum. And it brings everything together.

GUEST: Yeah.

APPRAISER: It's a fantastic piece. I can tell by that look in your eye it's something you'd never part with.

GUEST: Oh...

APPRAISER: So what we'd be looking for is an insurance appraisal.

GUEST: Right.

APPRAISER: Right. And, on a discharge, most of the time they're $100 to $200. The drum itself would need to be insured for $7,500.

GUEST: Wow. Wow.

About Rafael Eledge:
(source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/eledge_rafael.html)Shiloh Relics

Rafael Eledge is one of the country's most active and knowledgeable experts of Civil War and 19th-century militaria. Mr. Eledge's career began at the ripe age of 11, when he received his first metal detector and began searching around his home state of Tennessee for Civil War artifacts. He continued to gain knowledge and expertise as he attended trade shows, buying and selling pieces to support himself through college.

After graduation, Mr. Eledge fulfilled his childhood dream of owning a Civil War relic shop and museum. Shiloh Civil War Relics was opened in 1995 just to the north of the main entrance to Shiloh National Military Park in west Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, Shiloh Relics Online was born, and Mr. Eledge moved military antiques and arms collecting into the 21st century. Today the business is a 2,400-square-foot retail shop and one of the Internet's most visited Civil War Web sites. Shiloh Relics has active inventory that rivals some of the nation's best museums.

Having such success with Shiloh Relics has afforded Mr. Eledge the opportunity to do consultations for museums and national parks, as well as for books and magazines. He is highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge of artifacts of the American Civil War.

Even though Mr. Eledge's knowledge covers all aspects of pre-1900 militaria, his current passion is Civil War cannons, implements and ammunition. Having owned 15 original Civil War cannons and more than 1,000 projectiles, he is currently in the process of developing a manuscript on cannons used in the Battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War. Aside from his dedication to his business and family, he is also concerned with the preservation of our nation's artifacts and supports many such efforts.

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