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    Believed to be the only example known.

    Joseph Pitty Couthouy: Civil War Silver ID Badge for an Officer Aboard a U.S. Monitor. 1 1/8" x 2 1/8", slightly convex with a T-bar pinback. Inscribed at top "Joseph P. Couthany [sic] U.S.S. Osage". The cut out center section depicts a monitor with turret and pilot house on a representation of water. Joseph Pitty Couthouy (his surname doubtless misread by the engraver when the badge was fabricated) has a remarkable history. He was one of the most renowned conchologists (one who studies mollusk shells) of the era, serving in that capacity on the Wilkes Expedition. On October 3, 1861, Couthouy took command of the bark Kingfisher, serving on blockade duty in the Gulf Squadron. In December 1862, he took command of the screw steamer Columbia. On January 14, 1863, in an incident that remains controversial to this day, the ship ran aground off Masonboro Inlet, North Carolina and all forty men of her crew, including Couthouy, were captured by the Confederates. After his release, Couthouy took command of the single turreted river monitor U.S.S. Osage on July 10, 1863, and she sailed for patrol duty on the Red River. The Osage was eventually sunk by a Confederate torpedo in the Blakely River, Alabama March 29, 1865. Couthouy meanwhile had assumed command of the ironclad steamer Chillicothe, and on April 3, 1864, while participating in the Red River Expedition, he was mortally wounded by sniper fire, dying on April 4. The badge is in perfect, untouched condition, but clearly showing some honest wear, and accompanied by extensive and detailed records. Certainly one of the most historic Civil War ID badges we've ever encountered.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 995

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