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    Surgeon William O'Meagher, 37th and 69th New York Inf.: Historic Civil War Grouping including his Medical Staff Swords and Surgical Instruments. O'Meagher originally enlisted as assistant surgeon in the 37th New York on June 7, 1861, and served with the regiment until June 22, 1863, through the Peninsula, 2nd Bull Run, and Chancellorsville. He was taken prisoner when left behind to attend wounded in late August 1862 and paroled on September 4, 1862. After serving a brief period at the U.S. Army Hospital at Ft. Schuyler, N. Y. after mustering out, O'Meagher returned to the field as surgeon with the famed 69th New York in December 1863, serving with the regiment until June 1865 through the heavy fighting at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and numerous other engagements. Again he was detailed on several occasions to remain behind Confederate lines to care for the wounded. Really a superb history; the set is accompanied by a full set of extensive and detailed records.

    The set includes: O' Meagher's M1840 medical staff officer's sword which is regulation in every respect including separately affixed silver old English MS. The sword bears the hand engraved maker's mark of "E. Leon a Paris" on the obverse at the base of the blade- unique in our experience (interestingly, H. Leon is listed as a cutler in New York City in 1861). All brass hilt with nice patina, just traces of gilt with a couple of minor dents in the lower portion of the scabbard, but excellent. The scabbard has no provisions for a throat. The blade is etched for 2/3 its length with US on the obverse and spread wing eagle with motto on the reverse. Generally dark gray with just a few minor nicks and tiny patches of light pitting near the tip, untouched and uncleaned.

    The 1860 staff & field sword is also unique in our experience. Although several similar variants are known, including the one pictured in Peterson, this is the first example we are aware of that utilizes the standard M1860 scabbard rather than the conventional medical staff scabbard. Inscribed on the reverse folding counter guard "Presented to/ Dr. Wm. O'Meagher/ 37th Regt. N. Y. S. M./ by/ Mrs. Chas Bell/1861. The sword is further inscribed with an old English MS on the reverse cross guard at the base of the grip. The rather heavy 31½" blade is diamond shaped in cross section and etched for 2/3 its length with scroll work and military trophies on the obverse and scroll work, military trophies, and spread wing American eagle on the reverse. The obverse ricasso displays a small die stamped cartouche with the letter "S" with a similar cartouche on the reverse with the letter "P". Blade very fine with no rust or pitting. The regulation brass hilt is also quite heavy and of exceptional quality. The grip is polished wood with twisted brass wire. The regulation M1860 steel scabbard displays brass throat, ring mounts, and drag as well as brass carrying rings.

    The capital amputation kit clearly shows use with the major instruments bearing the mark of "S. Maw & Son, London". Most pieces have checkered ebony handles, a few with period replacements of ivory. Included are numerous amputation knives, scalpels, capital saw, two brass tourniquets, two field tourniquets, two trephines, chain type saw, and numerous other instruments, all in fine condition. The brass mounted mahogany case is 7½" x 16½" x 3½" and is missing one end piece on the lid along with the corresponding brass band and lid escutcheon. The other instrument case, which is clearly much earlier, is hand dovetailed, brass bound (not inlaid) mahogany, and is 10" x 21" x 3". It contains a variety of period instruments including obstetrical tools. O'Meagher graduated from New York University in 1857 and spent several years in civilian practice prior to the war. An historic and important grouping from a gallant Federal surgeon who served through the entire war; an impressive display in any Civil War collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,851

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