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    Union Private Joab Bishop's "Bummer's Cap" of the 23rd Missouri, Photograph, Diary and Notebooks from the Civil War Joab Bishop was born February 12, 1832 in Missouri and joined the 23rd Missouri Infantry of the Union Army on August 4, 1862. The 23rd Missouri would be battle hardened as they had seen action at the Battle of Shiloh before Bishop joined them. He would see his share of combat in the Atlanta Campaign, seeing service at Peachtree Creek. He died during the Siege of Atlanta on August 13, 1864, most likely wearing this cap.

    This bummer's cap belonged to Private Bishop, sent home from the war along with the accompanying personal items shown here. Made of fine blue cloth, the cap is in overall good condition. This type of Union Army cap was used extensively during the Civil War but few have survived in this condition. There is a slight break in the stitching at the rear. The 1½" leather band is intact and still pliable. The leather visor shows no breaks or tears and the chinstrap of the cap is missing but the lining on the inside of the cap is in very good condition. The two small Federal eagle buttons have come off the cap but have been saved by the family along with two gold plated watch fobs and a buckle.

    Accompanying this archive of Private Bishop is a ¼ plate ambrotype of Private Bishop in uniform. Seated for his portrait, Private Bishop is pictured in his Union private's uniform, the buttons of which have been hand-tinted by the photographer. His cheeks have also been tinted. The frame outlining the photograph is in good condition but the two-piece, leather frame has come apart at the binding.

    Along with Private Bishop's bummer's cap and photograph, there are two handwritten journals and two books that were the property of the soldier. The first volume of the two books is a 3" x 4 ½" paper bound book of soldier's hymns and prayers in poor condition, but still held together by its string threading at the binding. Handwritten in pencil inside the rear cover are the words "Joab Bishop, Co. D 23rd Mo.."

    The second book is a 3¼" x 5" Constitution of the U. S., Declaration of Independence and Washington's Farewell Address, linen bound with the title stamped in gold on the cover. Inside the rear cover is the inscription in ink, "Carondelet, St. Louis County, Missouri, March the 26th A. D. 1863, 23rd Reg. Mo Vol. Co. D.", and an indication that he purchased the book on that date and at that place. The words are repeated inside the front cover by another hand in pencil prefaced by the words "Joab Bishop, his book..." This book was common to schoolhouses of the period and patriotic soldiers took many to war, symbolic of their devotion to the Union.

    In the first of the two handwritten journals is a leather bound book approximately 3¼" x 5". It is essentially a journal containing the genealogy of the Bishop family through the 1960's. Private Bishop's death is noted in 1864 and there is a notation that "his remains are at Atlanta, Georgia". Bishop's marriages and births of children are also noted as well as what appears to be a household inventory.

    The second handwritten journal is Private Bishop's wartime diary of his service with the 23rd Missouri Infantry. The small, leather 2½" x 4" soldier's diary is written in pencil and in ink and begins with his enlistment in 1862. He notes his travels with the regiment and gives accounts of the 'skirmishes' in which his unit takes part. Most frequently he writes of everything from throwing up breastworks, to driving cattle to turning in the soldiers' weapons for new ones. He also writes of battle, especially during the Atlanta Campaign where his last entry is on August 8, 1864 when he notes he "went to hosp." (hospital) with the word 'hospital' underlined. Private Bishop would die five days later. At the rear of the diary, in reverse order and upside down, the Private had been making notations of the monies he had expended while in the service of the Union Army. Remarkably, he writes that on June 17, 1863 he purchased a hat for $1.99. His last purchase noted before he died was "near Atlanta, Georgia, July 13, 1864 - 2 shirts".

    Included with this archive is a handwritten letter from Private Joab Bishop to his wife Roda and son Stephen. Dated July 22, 1863 as Private Bishop was with his regiment in Rolla, Missouri, he writes of the news of the war he has read through the newspapers. He mentions his father, a preacher back home, and Bishop's belief that the war will be over soon since he has read of the fall of Vicksburg and of Confederate losses at Helena, Arkansas. He also mentions that "the Union men has run old Morgan down and captured nearly all his force", referring to the capture of Confederate raider Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's force just a few days earlier.

    This is a remarkable archive of material on a Union soldier that not only includes Bishop's bummer's cap and photograph, but also his personal diary that give his accounts of the war.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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