December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
George Clesson Joslin had three months service as second lieutenant of the 3rd Battalion of Rifles of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, from April 17 to August 3, 1861. During this time, he also helped organize Company I of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers in July, joined it for duty and enrolled at Worcester on August 3, and was commissioned its Captain 1n August, 1861. The regiment was a fighting unit in the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, losing a staggering 14 officers and 227 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded in three year’s service alone. The 15th Massachusetts suffered heavy casualties at Balls Bluff, the debacle of a failed raid lead by Brigadier General Charles Pomeroy Stone which resulted in the death of Edward Dickinson Baker, the only United States Senator ever killed in battle, on October 1861. The regiment then fought its way up the Peninsula, and back down again, under McClellan in 1862, taking casualties at Fair Oaks, Savage Station, Nelson’s Farm and elsewhere. In September 1862, Joslin was wounded in the right arm at Antietam where the regiment lost over half of its strength with 330 killed and wounded out of 606 on the field. Their monument at Antietam appropriately features a defiant, wounded lion. Joslin was on furlough for his wound until the end of the year but returned to be promoted Major in February 1863, to date November 13, 1862. He was promoted again, to Lieutenant Colonel in May, dating to April 17, 1863. The regiment took part in the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville campaigns, but were at the center of battle again at Gettysburg, as part of Harrow’s brigade, Gibbon’s Division. They fought Wright’s brigade along the Emmitsburg Road near the Codori Farm in advance of the main Second Corps line on July 2 and were roughly handled, with Joslin taking command after Colonel Ward was mortally wounded. Under his leadership on July 3 they helped repulse Pickett’s Charge, fighting Kemper’s troops on Pickett’s right and then rushing in to hit from the flank and drive back Garnett’s and Armistead’s men who had penetrated “the Angle.” The regiment entered the field with a fighting strength of 239 officers and enlisted men, of which they lost 148 in killed, wounded, and missing in just two days of fighting, more than 60 percent. Joslin was on recruiting duty in August and September, but returned to lead the regiment at Bristoe Station in October and during Meade’s advance to Mine Run in late November. He was captured at the picket line on November 28, 1863 while investigating firing, by a Confederate private by the name of W.H. Eskridge, who later recalled taking prisoner a field officer who was deceived by his wearing of a Union overcoat. Once Joslin had surrendered to Eskridge at gunpoint, he asked if the rebel would allow him to surrender his sword to a Confederate officer of equal rank. Eskridge stated that he would allow Joslin to surrender his sword to his commanding officer, Captain Plato Durham. Once at the confederate line, one of Eskridge’s Lieutenants seized Joslin’s sword and Captain Durham ordered that Joslin be taken to their brigade commander, General Robert D. Johnston. Joslin was taken to Johnston, who denied his offer of a handshake, and sent him to the provost guard, but was given over to a Major of the Ordnance Guard. Eskridge’s story became somewhat famous after the war, because he claimed that he captured President Rutherford B. Hayes during the war. Hayes was nowhere near Eskridge in 1863, and the officer in question is without a doubt then Lieutenant Colonel George Joslin. He was confined at Macon and exchanged in August 1864, by which time the regiment had mustered out on July 28 1864. Joslin was mustered out in October retroactively to July 29, 1864 as Lieutenant Colonel, though with a commission as colonel in his pocket dating to July 4, 1863, as he was promoted immediately after his valiant actions during the Battle of Gettysburg. He lived in Boston after the war, serving as post commander of GAR Post #2, Dahlgren Post, and died in 1916. This is a sword with superb history that was carried throughout the war by a fighting officer. The sword itself is a high quality and worthy of presentation to a respected officer. The presentation is located on the upper mount and reads "Presented to / Capt. Geo. C. Joslin / Co. I / 15th Regt. M.V. . BY / his friends in / Worcester & Webster. Mass. / 1861." The blade exhibits a slight curve with a fuller that extends to the hilt. The etchings on the blade are outstanding and feature a Damascus steel design. The decorative designs begin on the obverse with oak leaves and acorns followed by a panoply of arms that are intertwined with vegetation that is halted at a spread winged federal eagle with an array of stars between its wings. The eagle is etched above plentiful grape vines that end just above two proof marks that are stamped on the blade. The designs on the reverse begin with a torch and an acanthus banner that reads "Union" and is followed by a a panoply of arms that are intertwined with vegetation that is etched above the letters "U.S." The rest of the blade is decorated with budding roses that are intertwined with acorns. The brass hilt is adorned with a federal eagle, perched on a US shield in the foreground a floral spray of flags, four on each side, with seven stars between them. The knucklebow is decorated with open tear drops that rest atop of a baluster. The grip features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in high quality sharkskin. The skin is tightly bound to the grip with brass wire that fits neatly in the grooves of the handle. The backstrap features elegant foliate scrolls that continue up to the pommel that is bordered in simulated wire and features elegant designs within its boundaries. The scabbard is of black leather and features a center seam and brass mounts with two carry rings. The mounts are mostly plain, except for the presentation and designs around the edges. Distinguishing itself from the mounts, the drag is adorned with foliate motifs. CONDITION: The blade remains bright with scattered areas of light pitting, mostly on the spine. The guard remains clean with a few scattered blemishes. The grip is in superb condition and the brass wire remains tight. The scabbard exhibits cracking and there is one especially weak area at the center. Despite the cracking, the seam remains strong. The brass mounts exhibit a mustard patina and are firmly secured to the scabbard. The drag exhibits several dents and is loose. Considering this sword's history, it is in overall very good condition. The sword is accompanied by a binder of research. JLD
Blade Length
30 - 1/4"
Overall Length
Binder of Research
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,600.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $28,800.00
Estimate: $7,000 - $10,000
Number Bids: 33
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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