SOLD! for $320.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
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- Low Estimate: $300.00
- High Estimate: $350.00
- Realized: $320.00
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Civil War era checkerboard, belonging to Union Private Josiah W. Witham Jr., 27th Regiment, Maine Infantry, Company H. The game board is made of a rectangular piece of wood, probably planks from a shipping crate, with a handpainted square red and yellow checkered pattern to the center. Black ink stamp reading "J. W. Witham/CO. H 27 ME. INF.," en verso. 17 1/8" H x 22" W x 1" D. Provenance: Private Holly Springs, MS collection. Note: Josiah William Witham was born 1845 in York County Maine and died 1939 in Portsmouth, Maine. The 27th Maine Infantry Regiment was attached to the XXII Corps, first belonging to Casey's Division and later to the division of General John Joseph Abercrombie. They served as pickets in the defenses of the capital through their entire term. First encamped on East Capitol Hill upon their arrival in Washington, they soon moved to Arlington Heights, Virginia and afterward to Hunting Creek, where they went into winter quarters until March 1863. In the spring, they relocated along with the 25th Maine to Chantilly, Virginia and were there until 25 June, when they were transferred into the Army of the Potomac and ordered to report to General Slocum and the XII Corps at Leesburg, Virginia. This order was quickly changed, as it had not been known that the 1st Brigade (25th Maine and 27th Maine) were only nine-month units and their terms were about to expire, so they were instead sent to Arlington Heights for preparations to their mustering out and subsequent return to Maine. On the request of President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton sent letters on 28 June 1863 to the commanding officers of the 25th Maine and 27th Maine regiments, asking for them to remain beyond their contracted service due to the invasion of Pennsylvania by Robert E. Lee and his army. Declined first by the 25th Maine, the 27th was then asked, and over 300 men volunteered to remain beyond their service time in the defenses of Washington during what became the Gettysburg Campaign. When Colonel Wentworth delivered the message to Secretary Stanton, he was informed that "Medals of Honor would be given to that portion of the regiment that volunteered to remain." With the battle soon over, they left Washington for home on 4 July, reuniting with the rest of the regiment in Portland for their mustering out on 17 July 1863. Following the end of the war, when the promise to award medals to the volunteers was fulfilled, there was a lack of an agreeable list of those who stayed behind in Washington. This resulted in some 864 medals being made, and it was left up to Wentworth to distribute them to those members he remembered staying behind with him. These additional 564 (+/-) medals were later purged by Congress in 1917, as the actions of the regiment did not meet the criteria for receiving such a medal. Josiah W. Witham's name is not found was among the original 312 volunteers listed on one of two lists: "Medal of Honor List" in the 27th Maine Volunteers' history, nor is it found on Col. Wentworth's "299 List" submitted in 1865, in the the Maine State Archives; nor is it cited on his 1939 gravestone. A digital photograph of Witham's gravestone and a reunion photo of the 27th Maine is available on request. Condition: Overall good condition with wear to be expected from age and manner of use. Wax residue to two squares. Four drills holes to left and right edges of board.