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    Description

    Superb Civil War Uniform Grouping of a Heroic Maryland Officer This wonderful and extensive set of material belonged to Lt. John Edward Rastall, an active Wisconsin abolitionist and military figure who became a 1st Lt. and Adjutant of the 1st Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry. The group includes Rastall's regulation single-breasted wool frock coat, classic in every way with wide elbows, tall collar and wonderfully quilted green polished cotton lining, complete with a small interior belt for closing the coat in front and the usual left breast pocket. The collar is backed in velvet and the well-tailored coat bears the embroidered label "Rockhill & Wilson/Army & Navy Clothing/603 & 605 Chestnut St./Philadelphia." Seven of the nine original staff officers buttons remain on the front. All four buttons are on the back and all three smaller buttons are at each functional cuff. At the shoulders are double-bordered 1st lieutenant of staff straps with black wool centers. The coat shows honest period wear with a few tiny moth holes, the larger of which have been repaired, and some negligible fraying to the interior. With the coat is Rastall's tall beaver hat, with a 3" wide brim and crown that rises 5 1/2 ". Around the base is a machined gold and black officers hat cord as called for in regulations and illustrated in the Schuyler, Hartley and Graham military goods catalogue. Inside is a 3" deep sweatband and the crown of the glazed purple lining is nicely embossed in gold with a shield over "SPEEL & ZOLLINGER/MARKET SQUARE/HARRISBURG, PA." The hat shows just minor wear and is very sound, with only a pin-size hole in the brim. Rastall's handsome doeskin leather gauntlets are also with the group. The pair shows the expected soil and wear but are very sound with just a few minor openings at the fingers. The dramatically flared cuffs and red morocco leather lining give the gloves a very appealing "look." Also included are Rastall's high boots on which are still affixed a pair of regulation and complete brass cavalry spurs. The boots are still very supple and the nicely raised fronts bear an intriguing embossing that appears to be "TEMPEST" in well-worn silver 1" lettering. With the grouping is his regulation sword belt with a particularly nice high-relief M. 1851 officers sword belt plate. The plate has an appealing patina and the belt itself is sound but has extensive flaking to the leather. Only portions of the suspensory straps remain. Rastall's 1851 pattern epaulets are also included. The gilt brass crescents and body show only modest wear as does the fringe which is 1/8" wide as required for a 1st lieutenant. Both are housed in the usual japanned tin case. With the set is a recently framed, 19th Century copy of a photo of a group of 14 Union officers apparently taken in camp. The image is quite faded but it can be surmised that Lt. Rastall is among the group pictured. Finally, included in the grouping is a heavy and non-descript black wool overcoat which may have been used by Rastall in the field or at some time after his service. John Edward Rastall was born in England but settled with his family in Wisconsin where he became active in abolitionist raids into Kansas. At the outbreak of the war he joined Co. B, 5th Wisconsin Vol. Inf. as a private but shortly afterward was discharged to accept a commission as 1st Lt. and Adjutant of the 1st Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry, which he served from September, 1861 through October, 1864. When Lee invaded Pennsylvania in 1863 the unit rushed to Gettysburg in time to see action at Culp's Hill on July 3 (where it opposed the 1st Maryland Inf. CSA). The University of Maryland archives contains more than 125 pieces of Ranstall's Civil War correspondence to his family and the Wisconsin Historical Society also has holdings that pertain to Rastall .A letter of provenance from the consignor accompanies the set. A very fine and desirable group belonging to a colorful figure from the Civil War.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,641

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