Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Civil War Minie Ball in a Piece of a Tree from the Site where Gen. Sedgwick was killed at Spotsylvania Court House
This is a wonderful relic, especially if you are a devotee of the great Gen. John Sedgwick, famous leader of the renowned VI Corps.
The minie ball is about half exposed in a piece of southern sap pine and is not badly deformed. You can clearly see the rings around the sides and the cavity is intact, although filled with resin or sap. The relic is 6 inches long, 1.25 inches wide and 1.875 inches thick.
At some point after the war, a Vermont veteran visited the Battlefield and wanted a momento of the site where Sedgwick was killed and cut this piece of wood and the bullet out of a tree near where the General was killed by a Rebel sharpshooter (May 9, 1864). At some point he gave it to the G.A.R. Post in his hometown, Brattleboro, which had named its post after Sedgwick and when the Post was disbanded in the in the early 1900's, it along with the Post's entire collection of memorabilia was sold at auction. This piece came from a Brattleboro resident who acquired it.
On one side is the original paper label with clear ink inscription: "Bullet in hard pine. Sedgwick. Spottsylvania." On the other side is a more recent typed piece of paper: "from the Brattleboro, Vt. G.A.R. Post's Museum."
The famous First Vermont Brigade was in the VI Corps and was known as"Sedgwick's Pets" since he thought so highly of them. It was Sedgwick, on the road t Gettysburg, who said the famous words, "Put the Vermonters in front and keep the column well closed up." ("Put the Vermonts in front" is still the motto of the Vt. National Guard).
On the morning of the 2nd day of battle, May 9, 1864, the Union soldiers were busy building their entrenchments. At about 9 a.m., Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was inspecting his VI Corps line when he was shot through the head by a Confederate sharpshooter's bullet, dying instantly, only moments before he bellowed the celebrated remark "they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance". Sedgwick was one of the most beloved generals in the Union Army and his death was a hard blow to his men and colleagues.
Here is a wonderful item to add to your Civil War collection with a great background provenance.