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    Description

    One of only a small number of flags in private hands with a documented history of use on the Gettysburg battlefield

    "William Letford- Flag Flown At His Tent At The Battle Of Gettysburg" is the Printed Ink Legend, 1/4" to 3/8" Tall, on the Lower Area of the Hoist of this 35 Star Flag Accompanying the Personal Effects of Lt. William Letford, Adjutant, 29th PA Vol Inf. Stenciled on the upper portion of the hoist in 0.375" high letters is "Wm:G Mintzer. / Maker Philada:" The flag, which is accompanied by an analysis and authentication report from noted flag authority Fonda Thomsen, is 45" X 69.25" on the fly, constructed of wool bunting, with 2.25" to 2.375" cotton stars appliqued to each side. The 1.25" hoist is pierced with four metal grommets which, although composed of three pieces have been fused forming essentially a two piece grommet of a form known to have been used by Mintzer during the war. Mintzer's button making activities were instrumental in providing the equipment he used to provide his flags with grommets while most other manufacturers were still fabricating flags with hand whipped grommets. Ms. Thomsen states, in addition to verifying the flag is unquestionably of the Civil War period and commensurate with the Gettysburg history, states that the"flag definitely had a period of use and exposure to acidic fumes that would be present on the battlefield" and "The fraying of the bottom stripe could have occurred from abrasion of a staff or pole." The flag is overall in excellent sound condition with some oxidation, fading, a few small holes and scattered stains; all consistent with its period of use.

    Letford entered service as a 1st Lt. in Co. B of the 29th on July 5, 1861, and served with the regiment until resigning his commission on November 12, 1863. He was present with the regiment through Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Included with the flag are the following:

    Letford's silver Corps/ ID badge, with the 12th Corps star pierced in the center of a 1.125" diameter circle. The regimental motto "Be Just And Not Fear" is stamped around the circle with "29 / P. V." on the star. The reverse of the badge, with t-bar pin, closure loop missing, is script engraved in the center of the star with Letford's initials, "WL", and around the edge "Chancellorsville / May 3rd 1863" and is doubtless the badge he was wearing at Gettysburg. The front of the badge with light patina, while the back with deep dark patina;

    A 1.25" x 1.625" oval tintype of Letford in uniform in a small gilt frame, fine; a 6" x 8" oval albumen photograph of Letford in 1st Lt.'s uniform by Keenan in the original period frame, fine; Letford's folding "Union Army Knife" knife fork and spoon set, damaged, with the knife blade broken and a piece broken from one of the wooden plaque grips, in an old candy box with "Civil War spoon and knife" written on the outside; Letford's "Manual of Instruction for the Volunteers and Militia of the United States, Major William Gilham, Charles De Silver, Baltimore 1861, green cloth with gilt stampings, inscribed by Letford at two places in the front as adjutant of the 29th, in addition to being marked with his stencil, very good condition;

    A 7 75" x 9.5" albumen photograph on 10.75" x 13.75" mount of Robert Martin Letford, William's brother, who enlisted in the 29th on December 29, 1863, and died in service on March 19, 1864, depicted wearing a civilian frock coat but with his bummer's cap with insignia including 12th Corps badge on the top lying on his military overcoat on a chair at his side, fine; a prewar sixth plate ruby ambrotype of Robert and Charles Letford. Charles enlisted in the 29th on July 5, 1861 along with his brother, and was killed in action at Gettysburg July 2, 1863; a silk "Committee" ribbon for the 1895 reunion of the 29th; and a number of other post-war family photographs including several of William Letford.

    A remarkable grouping from a family of three brothers who served in the same regiment, two of whom gave their lives, along with one of only a small number of flags in private hands with a documented history of use on the Gettysburg battlefield.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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