December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
Andrew Watson Leonard had early service, from April 30, 1861 to October 16, 1863 in the 13th Massachusetts, a unit seeing heavy action in the Army of the Potomac, including Second Manassas, Antietam, and Gettysburg. He was discharged for promotion to Second Lieutenant Company K, 54th Massachusetts, the first black regiment raised in Massachusetts, and received a promotion to First Lieutenant January 31, 1864, serving with them until promoted to Captain in the 103rd United States Colored Troops in May 1865, with whom he served until mustered out in April 1866. The 54th Massachusetts served in the Department of the South, in the operations against the Charleston defenses, and is best known for its vain charge against Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina, where the regiment lost 156 men killed and wounded and more than 100 missing, most whom were likely killed in the assault and buried in mass graves with their faithful commander Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, whose body the Confederate’s refused to return due to the fact that he was a white officer that lead colored forces into battle. Two of Frederick Douglass' sons, Lewis and Charles Douglass, were with the 54th regiment during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. Although the regiment was overwhelmed by firing from the defenses and driven back, suffering many casualties, the regiment became legendary. They inspired hundreds of thousands more African Americans to enlist for the Union, helping to turn the tide of the war to its ultimate victory. The regiment later went on to take part in the 1864 expedition to Florida, fighting at Olustee, before returning to operations in South Carolina. The 54th Massachusetts officially mustered out August 20, 1865, having seen action and lost men on at least 29 occasions, at least 109 of whom were killed or mortally wounded. This was a high price to pay during a time that these brave men were viewed as second rate soldiers and citizens. Leonard, and the men under his command, no matter the color of their skin, served their country honorably, and deserve every bit of respect. The actions of these men would pave the way on a elongated and bumpy road, for a better nation, reunited together under the same flag, regardless of race. The sash is maroon, a common color shift from original crimson due to dye. It is a standard Civil War regulation sash for all officers below the rank of general except medical staff, and some chaplains. The sash is beautifully mounted and framed, and is draped above several pieces of ephemera relating to Leonard and the 54th Massachusetts. The sash is accompanied by two books "Record of the Massachusetts Volunteers 1861-1865, Volume II" and "A Brave Black Regiment: Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1863-1865". CONDITION: The sash is worn and exhibits fraying and several holes throughout its construction. There are also scattered stains, which are noticeable in several areas. The books are well preserved and exhibit blemishes that are typical of old paper. Overall good. JLD

Item Dimensions: 32" X 27"
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $250.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $1,260.00
Estimate: $500 - $1,000
Number Bids: 22
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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