Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Historic Federal Regulation Drum Used by Young Pennsylvanian Wounded in Action

Heritage Auction Galleries' 2009 June Signature Civil War Auction - Dallas, TX. Auction #6024, item 57100, catalog at p. 71:

Having great visual appeal, this classic “eagle” snare drum reflects its service in the field with a famed Keystone State regiment. The folk art inscription on its bottom head shows it was carried by 18-year-old William “Billy” Kirchner of Company L, 62nd Pa. Volunteer Infantry. The drum itself has a superb “look” and wonderful patina, with the traditional multicolored “arms of the United States” eagle/ sunburst/ riband design painted as per regulations on a deep blue background on its front. The colors are clear and fully visible, although subdued from age, and there is essentially no paint loss. Overall, this rarity is perfectly sound and two minor split areas in the painted wood do not detract in any way from the drum’s integrity.

Both original heads are intact as are the wooden rims which retain almost all their original red paint. Only the ropes are correct, old replacements. Five of the original sliding brown leather tightening “ears” or braces are still in place as are the remains of three others. About a half dozen tacks are missing from the usual pattern around the air hole at the side. Contemporary to its wartime use, the drum was apparently shortened about one inch at the bottom.

The top head is complete with only a small two inch tear near the center. The original bottom head is completely intact and is decorated with wonderful ink drawings of a cannon, shield, and flag. Also inscribed on the head in large inked letters (partially obscured but clear) is “Billy Kirchner” and below, in smaller letters, what appears to be “His drum.” At the bottom there are also large penciled letters “D.W.C.C.,” meaning unknown. Three of the original rawhide snares are still partially affixed.

Private Kirchner enlisted in this unit on August 29, 1861, and fought at Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill before being seriously wounded at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862. He was discharged as a result of that wound on October 26. Eagerly sought by collectors, this attractive classic drum is in exceptional condition and almost impossible to find with such a fine history and connection to a great Army of the Potomac regiment.

Est.: $6,500-$8,500 Start Bid: $3,250.

Session One, Auction #6024 • Thursday, June 25, 2009 • 10:00 AM CT

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