Future NAWCC Museum Exhibit on Watches of the American Civil War

Lee Passarella

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I visited on the first day of the exhibit, and it was superb and beautifully mounted. Congratulations to all who contributed to this worthy effort. Unfortunately, I arrived after a loooong ride from Georgia the day before and so missed the book signing.

This was my first visit to the museum, and I was much impressed. An excellent resource.
 

Clint Geller

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I visited on the first day of the exhibit, and it was superb and beautifully mounted. Congratulations to all who contributed to this worthy effort. Unfortunately, I arrived after a loooong ride from Georgia the day before and so missed the book signing.

This was my first visit to the museum, and I was much impressed. An excellent resource.
Thank you very much, Lee.
 
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PatH

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Very nice, Clint! Thank you so much for sharing. Since he is "local," was the author able to attend your talk?
 

viclip

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This morning I finished reading Clint's new book The Appreciation and Authentication of Civil War Timepieces.

Although not a Civil War buff as such, I retain a keen interest in history including American. With my love of pocket watches, the book provided a dynamite combination as I found myself being unable to put it down.

Now I understand why so many of you guys take a fancy to American Watch Co. timepieces.

I believe that some Canadians volunteered for the Union side, maybe one day I'll stumble upon a watch with Civil War provenance tucked away north of the U.S. border just waiting to be resurrected. I'm not too sure that the Confederate side proved terribly popular with Canadians following the St. Albans Raid so I won't hold my breath on that score:

St. Albans Raid - Wikipedia

Great job Clint!
 

Keith R...

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Just a friendly reminder that the repair ledgers that surfaced during this time frame,
had shown many an English fusee and Swiss straight line levers in for service between
1860 and 1865. American watch production for Howard's and Waltham's were affected
during the conflict. Southern Ports were targeted for blockades.

Many watch makers were setup for working English verges, levers and Swiss straight
line levers.

Keith R...

100_3868 (1600x1200).jpg FM2 (798x800).jpg FM3 (863x1024).jpg FM5 (785x800).jpg
 

Clint Geller

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This morning I finished reading Clint's new book The Appreciation and Authentication of Civil War Timepieces.

Although not a Civil War buff as such, I retain a keen interest in history including American. With my love of pocket watches, the book provided a dynamite combination as I found myself being unable to put it down.

Now I understand why so many of you guys take a fancy to American Watch Co. timepieces.

I believe that some Canadians volunteered for the Union side, maybe one day I'll stumble upon a watch with Civil War provenance tucked away north of the U.S. border just waiting to be resurrected. I'm not too sure that the Confederate side proved terribly popular with Canadians following the St. Albans Raid so I won't hold my breath on that score:

St. Albans Raid - Wikipedia

Great job Clint!
Thank you for your very kind words. Actually, the American Watch Co Grade Model 1859 watch whose personalized dial is shown both on my book cover and in the interior of the book was purchased by a friend of mine out of Canada many years ago. So there is hope! Also, there was strong sympathy for the Confederacy in the Canadian Maritimes on account of trade issues. The Maritime provinces were a haven and base for blockade runners and Confederate privateers. And yes, there were Canadians, both white and black, who served in the Union Army. There were also some communities in Canada that were founded by escaped slaves, one or two of which, I am told, may survive today. Southern slave catchers occasionally forayed into Canada before the war. One of my speakers at the July 6 seminar on the opening day of the new museum exhibit was Dr. Cheryl Wells from Brockville, Ontario, author of Civil War Time: Temporality and Identity in America: 1861-1865.
 
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Clint Geller

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This morning I finished reading Clint's new book The Appreciation and Authentication of Civil War Timepieces.

Although not a Civil War buff as such, I retain a keen interest in history including American. With my love of pocket watches, the book provided a dynamite combination as I found myself being unable to put it down.

Now I understand why so many of you guys take a fancy to American Watch Co. timepieces.

I believe that some Canadians volunteered for the Union side, maybe one day I'll stumble upon a watch with Civil War provenance tucked away north of the U.S. border just waiting to be resurrected. I'm not too sure that the Confederate side proved terribly popular with Canadians following the St. Albans Raid so I won't hold my breath on that score:

St. Albans Raid - Wikipedia

Great job Clint!
Interesting information about the St. Albans Raid, which is described as the "northernmost action of the Civil War." The easternmost action of the Civil War would have been the "Battle of Cherbourg," which occurred in the English Channel within sight of the French coast outside of the port of Cherbourg. On June 19, 1864, the USS Kearsarge sank the Confederate commerce raider, the famous/infamous privateer CSS Alabama, while a crowd of French spectators watched from the headlands. The Kearsarge had chased the Alabama into the port and then anchored beside her. Neither ship could shoot at the other while in port without violating French neutrality, but the rules of the port required the Alabama to leave by a certain date or be impounded. The skipper of the Alabama, which had a mostly British crew, was Raphael Semmes, one of the most swashbuckling and perhaps even romantic characters of the American Civil War. He was both a rear admiral of the Confederate Navy (such as it was) and a brigadier general of the Confederate army. Seeing that he soon would be forced to leave the port, he issued a formal challenge to the captain of the Kearsarge, something that hadn't happened in naval warfare in over a hundred years. The Kearsarge headed out of port first and waited outside the harbor for the Alabama. The Alabama emerged and the two ships circled one another firing their guns while slowly closing the range, as a crowd of spectators watched transfixed from the shore. The Kearsarge, a bigger and more heavily gunned ship, eventually shot the Alabama's masts away, burst her boiler and put holes in her side. Semmes and some of his crew escaped to England aboard a British yacht that had come to their assistance, as the Alabama sank below the waves.
 

viclip

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The American Civil War is one of the most interesting & best documented conflicts. It seems to have almost as many fascinating twists & turns as WW2, little wonder that historians continue spending their entire adult lives studying & writing about the Civil War, & assisting with documentaries nowadays.

i wasn't aware of the Cherbourg engagement. Interestingly however, in the Canadian history course which I took, eons ago it seems, I did an esay on the St. Albans Raid. I still have fond memories of going through reels of microfilmed newspaper articles from the 1860s. The prof liked that.
 
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Lee Passarella

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Good points, Clint, and let's not forget the absolute lastest act of the Civil War, the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah, another notorious commerce raider/privateer vessel licensed by the Confederate States of America. It supposedly fired the last shot of the war in the Aleutian Islands and lowered the Confederate flag in Liverpool on November 6, 1865.
 

Clint Geller

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Good points, Clint, and let's not forget the absolute lastest act of the Civil War, the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah, another notorious commerce raider/privateer vessel licensed by the Confederate States of America. It supposedly fired the last shot of the war in the Aleutian Islands and lowered the Confederate flag in Liverpool on November 6, 1865.
Didn't know that. Very interesting.
 
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Clint Geller

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For those who prefer ebooks, the e format of my new book, The Appreciation and Authentication of Civil War Timepieces, which is the NAWCC publication that is companion to the "Timeless Testaments" Civil War watch exhibit, is now available on Amazon.com and several other online vendors:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W5X22R...+war+timepieces&qid=1565443057&s=books&sr=1-2

If you still prefer print books like I do, then the NAWCC Gift Shop, 717-684-8261 extension 211, currently has soft cover copies available and they are ordering additional hard backs (Their original order sold out.). Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and several other on-line booksellers currently can sell you both soft cover and hard back copies, but of course, the NAWCC makes more money if you buy directly from our Gift Shop. I am likely going to be in York, PA in November for the regional meeting there, and in Columbus, OH next June, so if you track me down there, I'll be delighted to sign your copy for you.
 

Clint Geller

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Just left the museum. Outstanding exhibit. Admittedly I dug out one of my own Civil War presentation 1857s just to wear to the museum today.

Also picked up Clint's book from the shop so I have a nice afternoon of reading a head of me.
I am very pleased you enjoyed the exhibit. Please tell us about your presentation watch.
 

model1857guy

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I am very pleased you enjoyed the exhibit. Please tell us about your presentation watch.
Its nothing too spectacular, just an 1847 Fusee, 13 jewel, Davis & Palmer, Boston Massachusetts. With the simple presentation "To Robert - for service to your country - Your loving father" "~May 1862~"

My guess is it was a proud dads watch handed down to his son.
 

johnnypocket

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I just returned from vacation to Lancaster, planned mainly to see the CW exhibit and our museum. It was my first trip to the museum as I am only a member a year or so. I must say I was very impressed and it left me with a proud feeling of being a member. The CW exhibit was very well done and informative. I mainly am interested in PW's and was glad to see them well represented. Since I was staying in Lancaster the "watch day" of our trip also included a trip to the former Hamilton factory as well as the former Bowman Technical school location on E. King St.. It was a fun day, and I will undoubtedly return to the museum. I spent 3 hours there and could have spent much more. I will also add the staff there was great and very welcoming. I picked up Clints book there, as well as a few others, and can't wait to read it. Anyone on the fence to make the trip I recommend it.
 

Clint Geller

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Here is yet another anecdote about a bullet-struck Civil War watch, copied from the American Civil War Forums (a.k.a., CivilWarTalk.com):

Lieutenant Rolandes E. Fisher, Company K, 5th Ohio Infantry, was running on a streak of good fortune. A thirty-one-year-old cabinetmaker from Cincinnati, Ohio, he had enlisted as a sergeant in the 5th Ohio in April of 1861, just ten days after Fort Sumter was fired upon by Confederate forces. By 1863, he had risen to the rank of first lieutenant and had been in Company K since October of 1862. Fisher had even been captured in June of 1862, but luckily was not held long; he was paroled soon afterward. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, Lieutenant Fisher had seen action in at least five battles including Antietam and Chancellorsville but was unscathed. And in the early morning of July 33, 1863, Fisher's luck was still holding out.

While checking the position of his company on that fateful day, a Rebel sharpshooter saw him standing quietly among his men in the hazy light of dawn. A shot was fired; Fisher felt the blow which knocked him to the ground. But he was not dead. Surgeon Edward Mead explained: "The Ball entered [the] left forearm, at outer side of elbow joint passing through and making its exit at inner side at a corresponding point."

Miraculouosly, as the Minie ball made "its exit at the inner side" it cut through Fisher's uniform coat and struck his pocket watch, which stopped the flight of the deadly missile. After his recuperation, Fisher became captain of his company, and fought in the Chattanooga, Tennessee campaign, but was forced to resign in December of 1863, due to this wound.

Until his death in 1880, Captain Fisher kept the damaged watch and the smashed Confederate bullet as a reminder of a very close call at Gettysburg on a day his luck held out.
 
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Clint Geller

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Here is a bullet-struck watch anecdote with a famous owner:

During the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Virginia on August 9, 1862, Lt. Robert Gould Shaw of the 2nd MA Infantry and the future colonel of the celebrated 54th MA Infantry, narrowly avoided serious injury and possible death when his pocket watch absorbed the impact of a Confederate musket ball. After Colonel Shaw's subsequent death during the assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina on July 18, 1863, Northern papers expressed outrage over the theft of Shaw's gold watch. Of course, plundering the valuables from the corpses of enemy combatants was much more the rule than the exception, on both sides. Presumably, the watch stolen at Fort Wagner was a different timepiece entirely than the watch struck by a bullet at Cedar Montain. If either one turned up it would be an amazing find.
 
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