Summer Auction 2019 Sale 76
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/31/2019
Very fine association U.S. Navy Civil War Campaign Medal, 1 1/4" dia., struck from bronze and suspended from a blue and grey silk ribbon. The obverse depicts the clash between the ironclads USS MONITOR and CSS VIRGINIA (ex USS MERRIMACK) at Hampton Roads, with the legend "The Civil War" and the dates "1861-1865". The reverse depicts an eagle perched on a fouled anchor, with the legend "United States Navy - For Service". The edge of the medal is engraved with the name of the sailor to which it was awarded, John Berry, with the issue number "1111" and the name of his ship, "St Lawrence". The medal shows a fine patina overall, with minor soiling to the ribbon and slight verdigris to the clasp, else very good. The medal is accompanied by its original partly-printed endorsement document, 1p. 12mo., [n.p.], Sep. 7, 1912, naming Berry, giving the badge number "1111", identifying his dates of service from 1861 to 1864, and indicating that he resided in the National Military Home in Dayton, Ohio when given the award. The document is signed in type by U.S. Navy commander J.R.Y. Blakely, on the behalf of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. The document shows folds, with a horizontal split thereto repaired on the verso with archival tape, else very good. It is especially appropriate that the Civil War Campaign Medal presented here depicts the Battle of Hampton Roads, as Berry's ship, the frigate USS ST. LAWRENCE, played a notable role in that very engagement. As the Virginia engaged the Union warships anchored there on March 8, 1862, the gunboat USS CAMBRIDGE took the St. Lawrence under tow and proceeded towards the action. While passing Sewall's Point, she was fired upon by Confederate shore batteries, resulting in minimal damage. Arriving on the scene of the battle, the frigate found that the USS CUMBERLAND had been sunk, the USS CONGRESS had surrendered and the USS MINNESOTA had run aground and was stuck fast. St. Lawrence herself grounded shortly after. While the Cambridge and a tug worked to free her, the Virginia opened fire on her at a range of 900 yards, with one 80 pound shell penetrating her starboard quarter and causing great damage to her wardroom and surgeon's stateroom. The frigate replied with rapid and accurate fire of her own, but her shot glanced ineffectually off the Virginia's iron armor. With daylight fading fast, the Virginia retired from the scene. The St. Lawrence was refloated later that night and retired to the relative safety of Fort Monroe. The Virginia would return the following day to resume her destruction of the fleet, only to be met by the turret-armed Union ironclad USS MONITOR. The resulting duel, while inconclusive, would revolutionize naval warfare. Rounding out the group presented here is a sheaf of 15 handwritten pages, most 8vo. and smaller, believed to have been drafted by Berry and comprising a detailed record of his service. The larger part of the record consists of handwritten transcripts in pencil of letters and documents related to Berry's service aboard the St. Lawrence and his subsequent ship, the gunboat USS CHIPPEWA. Included among these is a transcript of the detailed official report of the St. Lawrence's engagement with the Virginia, as well as notes documenting her other notable Civil War actions, including the capture of the British blockade runner HERALD and the destruction of the Confederate privateer PETREL. Altogether, the articles presented here constitute an important and well-documented piece of Civil War naval history.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $200.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $715.00
Estimate: $400 - $600
Auction closed on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
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