Original Civil War Presentation Drum Identified to Drummer John Bolles of Company D, 21st Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry
The drum was painted with a beautifully hand painted presentation on the front in gilt lettering surrounded by foliate scrolls:
Inside the drum opposite of the side vent hole is the original manufacturers label! The label features a Federal Eagle clutching a “E Pluribus Unum” banner and Federal Shield. The Label reads as follows:
“Made and Sold
84 State Street
Importers from England and France
Manufacturers of Various musical In-
-struments, and rifles, and muskets, leather caps,
And military equipments in general.”
Roswell Meechum manufactured and sold military goods from the 84 State Street, Albany address from 1833 to 1857. Beside the name “Meechum” on the tag is a name which was purposely cut out from the tag. That name is that of Meechum’s father’s former partner, Sylvanus Pond, which ceased partnering with Meechum in 1832. That would certainly indicate that this specific drum dates to at least until 1833. With the possibility that Meechum simply continued to use the old tags decades later (which is quite possible), this drum could not be any newer than 1857, the year Meechum ceased operations.
The drum features two vertical rows of tacks, between which are two concentric rings of tacks surrounding the vent hole, with diamond tack patterns under and above. The drum measures approximately 18”x17”. Overall the condition is excellent, especially considering the age of the drum. The rims show honest wear from period use, with the holes being worn. The drum underwent conservation in 1991, and the tag of the conservator, Noble & Cooley Co.” is present inside the drum, just above the original Meechum tag. A small brace was attached to one of the rope holes which had rubbed through over the years. Heads and hoops are replacements that date to the consevation effort, which look excellent with the drum, almost period. The leather rope tighteners appear period, and feature the embossed stars on the reverse heart shape. The body and paint are undisturbed.
Included with the drum is
- Copy of Bolles Service Escutcheon
- Copy of his Service Record
- Photocopy of him in his G.A.R. Uniform posing with the Drum
- Numerous pages of Genealogical information.
It is our understanding that the drum was sold by Bolles grandson sometime in the late 1980s.
This is a rare opportunity to obtain a scarce identified Civil War drum which indeed had seen service during the American Civil War. The fact that the drum underwent professional, museum-grade, conservation is great positive which undoubtedly enhanced the longevity of the item. Identified drums rarely come to market. Ready to display!
The 21st Connecticut During the American Civil War:
The 21st Connecticut Infantry was organized at Norwich, Connecticut, on September 20, 1862, to serve for three years, under the command of Colonel Arthur H. Dutton.
The regiment was attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, IX Corps, Army of the Potomac, to January 1863. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, IX Corps, to April 1863. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, VII Corps, Department of Virginia, to July 1863. 3rd Brigade, Getty's Division, Portsmouth, Virginia, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to October 1863. Heckman's Command, Newport News, Virginia, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to February 1864. Defenses of New Bern, North Carolina, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to March 1864. Sub-District of the Pamlico, North Carolina, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to May 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, XVIII Corps, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, to December 1864. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, XXIV Corps, Department of Virginia, to June 1865.
The 21st Connecticut Infantry mustered out of service June 16, 1865.
Detailed service of the 21st Connecticut:
Left Connecticut for Washington, D.C., September 11. Duty at Arlington Heights, Virginia, Defenses of Washington, D.C., November 1862. March to Falmouth, Virginia, November 7–19. Battle of Fredericksburg, December 12–15. Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20–24, 1863. Moved to Newport News, Virginia, February 6–9, then to Suffolk, Virginia, March 13. Siege of Suffolk April 12 – May 4. Chuckatuck and Reed's Ferry, Nansemond River, May 3. Siege of Suffolk raised May 4. Reconnaissance to Chickahominy June 9–16. Moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, June 16. Provost and guard duty at Portsmouth and Norfolk November 10. Moved to Newport News November 10, and duty there February 1864. Expedition up the James River to Fort Powhatan January 24–25. Smithfield February 1. Moved to Morehead City, North Carolina, February 3, then to New Bern February 12, and duty there, Plymouth, and Washington, North Carolina, April. Near Blount's Creek April 5. Moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, April 28. Butler's operations on south side of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond May 10–28. Swift Creek, or Arrow field Church, May 10. Operations against Fort Darling May 12–16. Battle of Drewry's Bluff May 14–16. At Bermuda Hundred May 17–27. Moved to White House, then to Cold Harbor May 27–31. Battles about Cold Harbor June 1–12. Before Petersburg June 15–18. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864 to April 2, 1865. Hare's Hill June 24–28, 1864. In the trenches at Bermuda Hundred August 25 – September 27, 1864. Chaffin's Farm, New Market Heights, September 28–30. Fair Oaks October 27–28. Duty in trenches before Richmond March, 1865. Expedition to Fredericksburg March 5–8, and up the Potomac River March 11–13. Moved to White House March 13–18, then to Signal Hilt, before Richmond, March 24–26. Occupation of Richmond April 3. Moved to Columbia April 28, and duty there June.
The regiment lost a total of 175 men during service; 5 officers and 55 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 1 officer and 114 enlisted men died of disease.
Notable Members of the 21st Connecticut:
Private Wallace A. Beckwith, Company F - Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Fredericksburg
Corporal F. Clarence Buck, Company A - Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm
Captain William Stone Hubbell, Company A - Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm
Corporal John Gideon Palmer, Company F - Medal of Honor recipient for action at the Battle of Fredericksburg
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