December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
Thomas Goldthwait Colt made his reputation largely as an adjutant, that is an executive officer, at the regimental and brigade level, aiding not on only in administrative matters, but in governing of troops under fire and was recommended for two promotions for his conduct on the battlefield. He served first as a private in the 10th Massachusetts, enlisting at age 19 and mustering into Company D on June 21, 1861. His background as a clerk secured him a post as the Colonel’s clerk, a mounted orderly for him while acting brigade commander, and as acting brigade commissary sergeant in May and part of June during the Peninsula Campaign, where the regiment was heavily engaged at Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill. He was discharged on September 30, 1862 for a promotion to First Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 37th Massachusetts Infantry, mustering as of September 3, 1862. The regiment served in the 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac, and in Fall 1864, in the Army of the Shenandoah, fighting under Sheridan, before returning to the Petersburg front and where it was heavily involved in the siege and the pursuit of Lee to Appomattox. The 37th Massachusetts lost 4 officers and 165 men killed or mortally wounded in battles such as Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Winchester, Hatcher’s Run, and Sailor’s Creek, where the regiment was engaged in hand-to-hand combat as the retreating Confederates tried to break loose of their Union pursuers. The Confederate efforts at Sailor’s Creek proved to be futile, as the 37th Massachusetts’ firepower with their Spencer rifles showed superiority. It was also that during this battle that the 37th Massachusetts Regiment was credited with capturing Confederate Major General George Washington Custis Lee, eldest son of General Robert E. Lee. On April 17, 1865, Brigade commander Edwards recommended Colt for two brevet promotions: to major, “for marked gallantry, April 2, 1865,” the final assault on Petersburg, and to Lieutenant Colonel “for meritorious services at the battle of Little Sailor’s Creek, Va., April 6, 1865.” This was consolidated by the division commander into a brevet to major for both actions which were “for marked gallantry and meritorious services in the assault on the enemy’s works near Petersburg, April 2, 1865, and at the battle of Little Sailor’s Creek, Va., April 6, 1865” The promotion was conferred in August, to date April 6, 1865. Colt resigned his regimental post in late May 1865 to accept an appointment as Assistant Adjutant General U.S. Volunteers, that is, a federal rather than state post, and from which he was honorably mustered out on June 28, 1865. Throughout his service, Captain Colt was one of the most popular officers in the regiment on account of his "unwavering courage, quick military genius, warm social nature, and untiring interest in the welfare of all with whom he came in contact." After the war, he returned to his home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he retained a strong interest in all that related to his regiment. Colt passed away at the young age of 41 from pneumonia on May 10, 1883. He was deeply mourned by a wide circle of people including his comrades whom he lead into battle and the friends he made during his short time on earth. Although Colt is now gone, his sword has survived and is a testament to his leadership. The presentation is located under the guard and reads "1st Lt. T.G. Colt Adjutant 37th Reg. Ms. Inf." Once unsheathed, the blade exhibits a slight curve and etched decorations. The decorations are muted by the dark gray patina and have faded over time. The designs remain somewhat noticeable, and the obverse reveals scrolled acanthus leaves that swirl towards a faint eagle, only identified by its spread wings behind a patriotic shield. The eagle is followed by a panoply of arms, more acanthus scrolls, and another panoply, the decorations ending with decorative lines and finally a palmette just above the ricasso. The reverse also exhibits acanthus scrolls that are halted by a panoply which lead to the letters "U.S." followed by more acanthus leaves, another panoply, ending with decorative lines and a small palmette. The hilt features a cast brass guard that is decorated with open foliate scrollwork which flanks the staff and field "US". The quillon features arabesque lines and a back that mimics a large laurel leaf. The guard is followed by the grip, with a 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 brass pommel is decorated with laurel leaves and features a tiered cap. The sword is complete with its steel scabbard that features unadorned brass mounts. CONDITION: The blade exhibits a dark gray patina with scattered pitting throughout its length. The designs have faded, but remain noticeable. There is one significant chip in the blade towards the dulled tip. The guard exhibits pockmarks where the ricasso meets the brass. The guard is loose and slightly wiggles. Although the brass wire remains firmly wrapped around the grip, there are gaps in the sharkskin which exposes the wood. Over half of the sharkskin remains in place, but is worn. Traces of the black paint are evident on the scabbard, however most of the paint has faded or flaked off. The scabbard exhibits a slight chocolate patina with scattered areas of pitting and slight surface rust. The mounts exhibit a mustard patina in some areas as well as fingerprint impressions. There are a few small dents on the drag. The scabbard exhibits slight cracks on the seam, but remains firmly intact and the mounts remain secured to the scabbard body. Overall good. The sword is accompanied by a binder of research, three pictures of Colt, as well as a period copy of the book "Your Soldier Boy Samuel", written by Lieutenant Samuel Edmund Nichols who the adjutant in Company B, 37th Massachusetts Regiment. This is a nice example of a presentation sword that was worn by a popular officer, who was loved and respected by the men under his command. JLD
Blade Length
Overall Length
Binder of Research
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,600.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $3,250.00
Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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