Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Civil War Drum and Sword

Civil War Drum and Sword
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 3:23PM
By Charles T. Russell
The Airtight Garage

This civil war drum was carried by my great, great grandfather Charles T. Russell from 1861 through 1865. He enlisted in the Maryland Fifth Volunteer infantry with his father Walter Russell. Walter Russell rose to the rank of Sergeant Major and carried the sword pictured below.

The Sword was manufactured in Philadelphia by Horstman and Sons. The model 1850 foot officer sword was intended for officers up to captain, these officers received a pay allowance but made their own purchase decision, hence there is a great deal of variation in officer swords. The model 1850 guard is adorned but does not bear US. The regulation specified a steel scabbard but most including this one are made of leather, with brass mountings, a throat, middle ring, and drag. Handle is sharkskin wrapped with wire. Blade is etched with "US" and various patriotic symbolism

A Brief History of the Maryland Fifth Volunteer Infantry
The 5th Md. Infantry was organized in Baltimore in September, 1861 for three years of service. Co. A. was recruited from North East, in Cecil County, while Co. I. was recruited in Elkton, Cecil County. Co. E. was recruited in Frederick County and Baltimore City. Companies B, C, D, F, G, H & K were all recruited in Baltimore.

The regiment trained at Layfayette Square in Baltimore until March of 1862, then proceeded to Fortress Monroe, where it was assigned to General Dix's command. Soon after the 5th's arrival in Virginia, the Union war effort shifted from the penninsula to Northern Virginia. Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Corps, the 5th Md. marched back north into Maryland with the Army of the Potomac to fend off Lee's invasion of Maryland. On September 17th, the 5th participated in the bloodiest day of warfare in American history, the Battle of Antietam. The regiment was involved in the gallant contest both sides made over the sunken road, that has become known as "Bloody Lane." The 5th suffered 39 dead, 100 wounded during the contest, as well as two commanding officers in one day.

After the Battle of Antietam the 5th was assigned to General Milroy's command in the Shenandoah, and remained there until June of 1863. The regiment was at Winchester in June of 1863 when that city was besieged by the entire 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, as it advanced toward Maryland. The 5th Md. was among the units which managed to cut it's way through Confederate lines at a high cost in dead and wounded.

The regiment was so badly beaten up at Winchester, it was forced to return to Baltimore to recruit and refit, not rejoining the Army of the Potomac until early 1864. Of those new recruits, nearly 100 men deserted immedately after receiving their enlistment bounty.

The 5th rejoined the Army of the Potomac in time to particpate in the siege of Petersburg, June to September, 1864; Battle of the Crater, July 30th 1864; Siege of Richmond, October, 1864 to April 1865; the Second Battle of Fair Oaks, October 27th, 1864; and the occupation of Richmond, April, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 63 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 6 Officers and 91 Enlisted men by disease. Total 161.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Charles T. Russell is my gr-great Uncle. His brother, Henry, was my gr-great grandfather. Can you tell me if this drum is on display somewhere? As a child, I was always told Uncle Charlie's drum was at the Smithsonian Museum in D.C.


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