1863 New York Civil War on PBS' Antiques Roadshow
Appraised on: August 4, 2007
Appraised in: Spokane, Washington
Appraised by: Christopher Mitchell
Category: Arms & Militaria
Episode Info: Spokane, Hour 2 (#1211)
Originally Aired: April 7, 2008
Appraised By: Christopher Mitchell
Appraisal Video: (2:48)
GUEST: It's been in my family for probably more than 70 years. My grandfather bought it in Maryland, along with some other military items, mostly Civil War-- letters, a sword—and he bought it in the '30s, so I probably have had this drum, maybe, going on 40 years.
APPRAISER: Okay. So he was a very early collector.
GUEST: Yes, he loved...
APPRAISER: Very early interest.
GUEST: Yes, he loved history.
APPRAISER: It's called a regimental drum. You have this nice kind of iconic, folky, American eagle on here. It's the type of thing that a collector really loves, with its wonderful colors and paint. You'll see where it says R-E-G for "regiment," and then it goes on and it says "infantry."
APPRAISER: And, sometimes, they could actually paint the number of the regiment in front of this R-E-G. But we do know the regiment that this drum was in because after the war, the owner took the time to write down his full name, the regiment he was in and the battles that he fought in. This is a really unique aspect. And it's something that collectors enjoy because it takes this away from just being an object and it actually puts it in a place, and it puts it in a person's hands, so we can really kind of get our fingers around it and understand it. And that's what collectors love. It says: "Through The Civil War, Justus N. Williams."
APPRAISER: He shows this date of enlistment and the date he's discharged. He lists his regiment-- he's in Company F of the 122nd New York State Volunteers, and he's in the Second Division of the Sixth Corps.
APPRAISER: You have to imagine this is probably a very young man, he's carrying this drum, and he comes and he says "Under fire in..." And that means he's actually in the thick of battle with his friends, his brothers, the people that he lives with. They become almost like a family to him. One of the really great aspects is he is at the three pivotal days in the American Civil War. He's at the Battle of Antietam, which is the bloodiest day in American military history. He is at the Battle of Gettysburg, which is the high watermark for the Confederacy. It's the true beginning of the end.
APPRAISER: And then he's at Appomattox, when it's all summed up and the war's over and it's come to a close. He's playing a part in these things that are happening in our country's history and then, after the war, he's taken it and written it all down, so it tells us a story.
GUEST: That's great.
APPRAISER: And that's what a collector likes. It's in its original untouched condition. That's a big thing for a collector, too. We have all the original paint; the ropes are original, the leathers are original. That's something that a collector looks for. I think, retail, this drum is probably worth somewhere between $8,000 and $9,000.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: No, it's a nice drum, and it's the history that really drives the value.
GUEST: Geez! Uh-huh.
APPRAISER: If it did not have that writing, then you would be thinking more along $4,500.
About J. Christopher Mitchell
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell (Daphne, Alabama) is one of the nation's leading arms and militaria authorities. His areas of expertise in American and foreign military items span more than three centuries, from 1600 to 1945. Mr. Mitchell has purchased military artifacts belonging to some of America's greatest heroes, including Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Monroe, Adams, and Madison, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as well as many others. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from Springhill College in Mobile, Alabama, and has also completed the core requirement courses for the International Society of Appraisers.
A consultant to auction houses, museums, and the nation's leading collectors of militaria from all wars, Mr. Mitchell is noted for his unique passion for American antique militaria, and highly regarded for his more than 25 years of experience and extensive knowledge of the period from the American Revolution through the American Civil War. He specializes in Colt pistols, Civil War presentation pieces, and Confederate items, which he also collects.
Mr. Mitchell is an active member of several antique military organizations, including the Southeastern Antique Arms Collector Association, the Pennsylvania Antique Gun Collectors Association, and the Alabama Gun Collectors Association, and is also a lifetime member of the Antique Bowie Knife Association. His numerous lectures and television appearances include nine seasons of participation as an appraiser on the highly acclaimed Antiques Roadshow. He is currently conducting research for a book about historical weapons of the American military, as well as writing articles for the Antiques Roadshow Insider newsletter.
Note: the list of battles and appearances on the drum head is substantially consistent with, but not exactly the same as the information concerning the 122nd Regiment, NYI, appearing on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System maintained by the National Park Service:
UNION NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS
122nd Regiment, New York Infantry
Organized at Syracuse, N. Y., and mustered in August 28, 1862. Left State for Washington, D. C., August 31, 1862. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to October, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to January, 1864. Johnson's Island, Ohio, to March, 1864. 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, to July, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac and Army of the Shenandoah, to June, 1865.
SERVICE.-Maryland Campaign September 6-22, 1862. Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17. Duty in Maryland till October 20. Moved to Stafford Court House, Va., October 20-November 18, and to Belle Plains December 5. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. At Falmouth, Va., till April, 1863. "Mud March" January 20-24. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2. Battle of Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks' FordMay 4. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. Duty on line of the Rappanannock and Rapidan till October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Duty at and near Brandy Station till January, 1864. On detached duty at Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, till March. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May 3-June 15. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient, "Bloody Angle," May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 17-18. Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad, June 22-23. Siege of Petersburg till July 9. Moved to Washington, D. C., July 9-11. Repulse of Early's attack on Fort Stevens and the Northern Defences of Washington July 11-12. Expedition to Snicker's Gap, Va., July 14-23. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Gilbert's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 13. Battle of Winchester September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Duty in the Shenandoah Valley till December. Moved to Petersburg, Va., December 9-12. Siege of Petersburg December 12, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Fort Fisher, Petersburg, March 25. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Sailor's Creek April 6. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. At Farmville and Burkesville till April 23. March to Danville, Va., April 23-27, and duty there till May 24. March to Richmond, thence to Washington, D. C., May 24-June 3. Corps Review June 8. Mustered out June 28, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 85 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 85 Enlisted men by disease. Total 179.