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    Description

    Civil War: Drawing of a Light Twelve Pound Dahlgren Boat Howitzer by Ulric Dahlgren, Son of the Gun's Inventor and Author of the Dahlgren Papers. The side-view rendering of the gun is done in ink and watercolor and measures 10.25" x 7.5". The detailed and finely executed drawing is signed at the lower right "U. Dahlgren / August / 1856". The rendering is evenly toned with light staining to the right of the gun, else very fine and extremely desirable. In August 1856, Ulric Dahlgren was just fourteen years old, but was an exceptional draftsman having worked with his father, Lieutenant (later Admiral) John A. Dahlgren, the founder of the United States Navy Ordnance Department. The older Dahlgren was the chief ordnance officer at the Washington Naval Yard where he developed a percussion lock; and wrote a number of books on boat armaments, shells, shell guns, and percussion locks and primers. Under his command, the United States Navy established its own foundry, and its first product was the boat howitzer, which he designed to be used on both ship and in landings. The first boat howitzer to be designed was the light 12-pounder. Two of the guns were used at the First Battle of Bull Run. Dahlgren designed guns were the primary weapons used by the United States Navy in the Civil War.

    Ulric Dahlgren's place in history was not related to the navy, but rather the army. During the Civil War the younger Dahlgren was commissioned into the Army, rising to the rank of colonel, the youngest man in the army to hold that rank during the war. In March 1864 Ulric Dahlgren was killed leading a raid on Richmond, Virginia, ostensibly to free Union prisoners. In orders recovered from his body was the note, "The men must keep together and well in hand, and once in the city it must be destroyed and Jeff. Davis and Cabinet killed." The Confederate leadership released copies of the orders to the press. The reaction in the South and in Europe was swift and negative. Although terribly bloody, the Civil War had largely been a gentleman's affair, fought by gentlemen's rules, with flags of truce and cordial messages between opposing commanders. The Dahlgren Papers implicated Union leaders in a plot to assassinate their southern counterparts. In the North, the papers were denounced as a forgery designed to weaken the Union's war effort. It has been argued that among those who were incensed by the Dahlgren Papers was John Wilkes Booth who would develop his own plot to assassinate the Union president and cabinet a year later.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,944

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