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Lot 3157
ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS. Rarely do "as found" field desks come to market still retaining all of their original Civil War documents. This desk would be the mainstay of a camp display that would be the envy of other collectors or museums. This desk belonged to Jacob Widaman, Company G, 8th Indiana Infantry. The desk has his name & unit penciled on the side of the desk w/ "New Orleans" below where he must have obtained the desk. The desk contains well over 500 documents, letters, broadsides, general orders, muster roles, discharges, ordnance reports. etc... The documents date from Dec. 1861 & end in 1865. There are a handful of post war documents concerning Widaman's pension application & other personal items. This desk has been retained by a Nebraska family & is being offered for the first time. The 8th Indiana saw many theaters of war & the documents contained pretty well follow their history starting in Indianapolis, moving into western Virginia mid 1861, moving to St. Louis in Sept., Arkansas in early 1862, taking part in the Battle of Pea Ridge in March, then moving into Missouri, then into Louisiana & in April moving up the Mississippi River to Vicksburg taking part in the June 22nd 1863 assault on the Confederate Works at Vicksburg sustaining 117 casualties that 1 day including 2 color bearers. There is a good descriptive letter citing both KIA color bearers John Swafford & Harrison Webb for gallantry. In the desk there is a grape shot & a fired minie ball which, though not tagged are thought to be from this Vicksburg fight. After the surrender of Vicksburg, the 8th took a steamer back to New Orleans staying for a couple weeks before leaving for Texas. The 8th was sent to Washington DC on August 2nd 1864 & were soon assigned to the Shenandoah Valley where they took part in the Battles of Fisher's Hill & Cedar Creek. The regiment left the valley on January 6th 1865 & arrived in Savannah, Georgia where it remained on duty in southern Georgia until being mustered out August the 28th. The fighting 8th Indiana lost 269 dead during the war. Widaman retained most if not all of his general orders, many being field printed. A few of the imprints noted were Batesville, Ark., Camp Arno, Ark., Camp Pittsburg Landing, Tn., Camp Corinth Road, Miss., Algiers, La., Ligerville, La., Brasher City, La., Indianola, Tx., Fort Esperanzos, Tx., Brownsville, Tx. & a most interesting, general order #14 from Pass Cavallo, Tx. which is Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation w/ a poignant preface by General Dana. Reading through other western theater general orders finds some unusual content. 1 General order printed St. Louis, Army Dept. of Missouri 2/26/62, states "Hang 1 of the rebel cavalry for every union man murdered". There are 3 manuals of Widamans including a scarce inscribed 25 pg., 1863 imprint "Rules for the Management and Cleaning of the Rifle Musket Model 1863 with Descriptive Plates". Desk also contains almost every bureaucratic form you would ever expect to see. There are over 100 blank forms of numerous genre. Over the past 40 years, I have examined only a handful of comparable desks w/ documents & I doubt there is another company grade group of documents spanning the entire war in so many different theaters from 1 unit w/ signatures of many, if not most of Company G & other officers. Perspective bidders should view this amazing & massive archive. The desk, which measures 25" 11 1/2" x 19 1/2" still retains some of Widaman's wartime labels which can be seen in photos. The desk is fit into an iron bound 27" x 20" x 20" lidded box which the folding lid acted as the writing surface which still retains portions of old pasted forms. The box has 2 iron carrying brackets, 1 is missing. CONDITION: documents vary from very good to fine overall, w/ a portion having tears, folding & rolling. The internal desk is sound w/ some more modern added nailed reinforcement on the bottom, hand worn patina. The outside box retains much of its original paint. The banding has iron patina, several reductions but retains original hasp & closure. (02-11453/DJ). $4,000-6,000.

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Estimate $4,000 - $6,000Oct 22, 2018