Confederate & Union Edged Weapons

Our Price: $20,000

The flag here is possibly the only surviving Civil War pattern of its type. This is probably one of five such flags made early in 1861 and other survivors could not be located. Flag is typical in construction of early Civil War being gold painted blue silk. Flag measures about 4-foot square with fringe.

Sword is an 1861 dated Collins & Co (retailed by Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, NYC) model 1850 foot officer’s sword with presentation which reads:

“Lieut. Isaac M. Potter from his friends in Providence, R.I. Feb. 17th, 1862”

Isaac Mathewson Potter enlisted on 4/17/1861 as a private. He served with 5th Rhode Island Infantry which was composed. On 5/2/1861 Potter was mustered into “C” Co. RI 1st Infantry, later in the 3rd RI and finally in the 5th Rhode Island which he commanded at War’s end. Potter had a good war record being wounded at the battle of New Bern, NC, June 16, 1861. He had several promotions and listed as colonel postwar when he was a member of the Rhode Island assembly. His last command is listed as commander at Ft. Spinola, NC March 15, 1865.

The 5th Rhode Island Infantry was organized at Providence, Rhode Island as a battalion of five companies and mustered in December 16, 1861. An additional five companies were raised afterward and mustered in December 27, 1862.The regiment was attached to 3rd Brigade, Burnside’s Expeditionary Corps, to April 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Department of North Carolina, to July 1862. 2nd Brigade. 1st Division, Department of North Carolina, to January 1863. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, XVIII Corps, Department of North Carolina, to May 1863. Lee’s Brigade, Defenses of New Berne, North Carolina, Department of North Carolina, to July 1863. The 5th Rhode Island Infantry ceased to exist in July 1863 when it was changed to 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. All three units that Potter was a part of saw service saw service in same brigade, all in the Carolinas.

There are several presentations of Rhode Island flags found in Rhode Island and the Carolinas early war, but this flag didn’t match this pattern, but further research might provide a match. Regardless this is a rare and pleasing example of an early war Union flag with presentation sword of a hard fought Rhode Island soldier.

Sword is very good overall, blade is gray with good markings and fully discernible patriotic etched panels. In addition to the inscription a well executed masonic symbol it engraved into the upper mount. Grip is sound though worn especially at high areas, single wire wrap is complete; scabbard has a barely discernible repair just above the drag. Inscription discernible and crisp, brass mounts and hilt has yellow patina. In addition to the inscription a well executed masonic symbol it engraved into the upper mount. Yellow patina to brass mounts and hilt with old cleaning and only traces of gold plate can be found. Flag is very good overall as conserved. Frame of plexi-glass is sound protecting flag and fringe. Flag was not removed from framing but appears stable as sewn to backing while in mounting. Silk however appears brittle and detached fragments are seen. It would probably benefit from a more modern conservation and I will be happy to arrange this for the new owner.

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