Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Heavily Tacked Regimental Eagle Drum Attracting Interest on eBay

Attracting substantial interest (and low ball bids) since being posted on eBay (item no. 160302597251) yesterday is this heavily tacked regimental eagle drum slightly misdescribed by eBay seller artofjoy56( 30) as having "a banner reading "RED. [sic REG.] US [sic U.S.] INFANTRY"."

(See previous pre-eBay coverage of this drum on this blog at "Soistmann (?) Eagle Drum", November 25, 2008.)

The drum has what appears to be one anachronistic error: the snare mechanism (photo below) including the snare butt plate (photo above):

The above too modern snare mechanism (including too perfect and possibly not leather butt plate and snares) is more characteristic of WWI era drums. See, e.g., the snare mechanism on this WWI drum:

Well, enough criticism. I am sure that Jim S. or whomever prevails in this auction, assuming the reserve is sufficiently low, will promptly strip out the entire snare workings and replace them with something period. The tackwork and pretty decent regimental eagle emblazonment make this drum an attractive acquisition, despite the obviously post-Civil War snares. Pairing the drum with a tintype (photos below) of a soldier alleged to have "carried the drum" will increase its value. But eBay is not the place for this pair to reach maximum value.

Let's see if the seller lets them go for what eBay buyers will bid or whether the seller has set the reserve so high that the eBay posting is just a feeler looking to stir interest and/or test the waters for value. In my opinion, absent the snare mechanism, the drum alone (without the tintype) could fetch in the $7,000 plus range at an approprite live auction. Add the tintype and, if it can be authenticated, the pair could draw $10,000.

Here's what the seller said about this pair:

This is a gorgeous American Civil War rope tension drum accompanied by a tin type photo, in a beautiful case, of the soldier who carried the drum. The soldier was Corporal Henry Lawrence Smith, a member of “A” 70th Regiment, Ohio Infantry. The drum measures 16” high x 17” diameter. The photograph is in a frame case that measures 3 ¾” high x 3 3/16” wide.

The drum is made of painted wood, rope, calfskin, and metal, and is decorated with an eagle bearing the shield of the United States and a banner reading "RED. US INFANTRY". It appears to be identical to the one featured on the cover and on page 49 of the book “A Pictorial History of Civil War Era Musical Instruments & Military Bands” by Robert Garofalo & Mark Elrod, (Pictorial Histories Publishing Company, 1995). The drum in the book is attributed to Horstmann, Brothers Co., Fifth & Cherry Streets, Philadelphia, circa 1863. The drum is in untouched, as-found condition, and was acquired directly from the family of the soldier. It has very old calfskin heads. It has a great weathered patina, with normal wear from usage. It appears to be missing the leather braces that bound the ropes together, but these can be easily replaced. This drum is a truly spectacular Civil War relic, and the accompanying photo adds a personal touch to this historical artifact.

History of Ohio 70th Regiment Infantry:

Here is a brief history of the Ohio 70th Regiment Infantry, taken from

70th Regiment Infantry

Organized at West Union, Ohio, October 14, 1861. Moved to Ripley, Ohio, December 25, thence to Paducah, Ky., February 17, 1862. Attached to District of Paducah, Ky., to March, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 5th Division, Army of the Tennessee, to July, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 5th Division, District of Memphis, Tenn., to November. 1862. 3rd Brigade, 5th Division, District of Memphis, Right Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of Memphis, 13th Army Corps, to December, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, to March, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, to July, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 15th Army Corps, to August, 1864. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 15th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 15th Army Corps, to July, 1865. Dept. of Arkansas to August, 1865.

SERVICE.--Moved from Paducah, Ky., to Savannah, Tenn., March 6-10, 1862. Expedition to Yellow Creek and occupation of Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., March 14-17. Crump's Landing April 4. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Russell House, near Corinth, May 17. Occupation of Corinth May 30. March to Memphis, Tenn., via LaGrange, Grand Junction and Holly Springs June 1-July 21. Duty at Memphis until November. Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign, operations on the Mississippi Central Railroad, November, 1862, to January, 1863. Moved to LaGrange, Tenn., and duty there until March 7, and at Moscow until June 9. Ordered to Vicksburg, Miss., June 9. Siege of Vicksburg June 14-July 4. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Bolton's Ferry, Black River, July 4-6. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Camp at Big Black until September 26. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., thence march to Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26-November 20. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Tunnel Hill November 23-25. Mission Ridge November 25. March to relief of Knoxville, Tenn., November 28-December 28. Regiment reenlisted January 1, 1864. Veterans on furlough February. Duty at Scottsboro, Ala., until May. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. Demonstrations on Resaca May 8-13. Near Resaca May 13. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Advance on Dallas May 18-25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Brush Mountain June 15. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Ruff's Mills July 3-4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Battle of Atlanta July 22. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Ezra Chapel July 28 (Hood's second sortie). Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 29-November 3. Reconnaissance from Rome on Cave Springs Road and skirmishes October 12-13. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Statesboro December 4. Near Bryan Court House December 8. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Fort McAllister December 13. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Columbia, S.C., February 16-17. Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 20-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 30. Grand Review May 24. Moved to Louisville, Ky., June, thence to Little Rock, Ark., and duty there until August. Mustered out August 14, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 70 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 188 Enlisted men by disease. Total 265.

P.S. Corp. Henry L. Smith of 70th Ohio Volunteer Infantry - Company A is reported to entered service Oct. 10, 1861 at age 21, and to have died Sep. 11, 1863 at Winchester, Ohio.

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering if you have seen other websites with such verbose descriptions of antiquities. Consider yourself linked. :)


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