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Watch Presented to Col. George W. Gallup, 14th KY Mounted Infantry, May 1863

Clint Geller

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Some pictures of my latest acquisition, taken by the previous owner, are attached. While the watch movement is Swiss, the provenance, and all the historical interest, are thoroughly American. The watch has an unsigned 15 jewel Swiss Lepine Calibre movement with side lever escapement, temperature-compensated bimetallic balance and simple regulator. The parallel train wheel bridges are very typical of Swiss exports to the US during the American Civil War period. The 18 karat gold hunting case is likely of American origin, and is a bit unusual in having two inner rear lids. The outer cuvette contains a picture frame, now empty, whereas the inner one bears two presentations. The Gothic "A. S." on the insides of both outer lids is most likely a retailer's mark, though I suppose it could be a case maker's mark, or perhaps even both.

Though not all of it can be read in the picture, the first presentation reads: "Presented to Col. Geo. W. [Washington] Gallup by the Officers and Soldiers of the 14th Regt. KY V. [Volunteer] Inf,. May 1st, 1863."

The second presentation reads, "Gen.l G. W. Gallup to his son, G. F. [Gideon Frederick] Gallup, May 15th, 1873." [GHG was an attorney in KY, which is the same profession which his father originally practiced.]

Gallup, born in Albany, NY in 1828, began his military service as a Lieutenant in the 14th KY mounted Infantry, and became that regiment's Colonel in January, 1863. From August, 1863 through May, 1864, he served as the Commander of the Eastern KY Military District, a brigade command assignment. Then he and the 14th KY were assigned to General Sherman's army for the duration of the Atlanta Campaign. (The month of the original watch presentation coincides with this reassignment.) Sometime probably in early 1865, he was brevetted to Brigadier General.

Numerous letters written by Col. Gallup to his wife Rebecca, as well as a war diary written by Gallup, which documents part of his time in uniform, are preserved in the Filson Historical Library, in Louisville, KY. A letter to his wife written on May 18, 1864, just over a year after he received the watch, reads in part, "We go to the front tomorrow. I report direct to General Schofield, Cmmndg, the 23rd Army Corps. ..... Will took my watch in the trunk back with him. ..." This passage suggests that Gallup had had the watch with him on campaign for the previous very busy, combat-filled year.

The patriotism of the times comes through in some of the other passages from Gallup's personal letters to his wife. For instance, on June 20, 1863, he wrote, "... Do not be uneasy about me. Our men are brave and trustworthy, knowing their cause is just, that they fight for an outraged country, for her noble and free institutions, her time-honored and glorious old flag, they will brave danger and death and dear will be the victory. ... So content yourself, my dear wife, knowing that brave arms and noble hearts surround me. If I ever fall upon the battlefield, let it be among my noble boys, men who I love next to you and my dear children. ..." For a public speech, such strong patriotic sentiments might not seem remarkable, but for a personal letter to a spouse, quite striking! Several other letters contain equally fervent patriotic passages.

The 14th KY, a mounted infantry unit, saw considerable action and had admirable accomplishments on the battlefield, having earned multiple commendations from their general command for gallant and effective service. To whit:

"Headquarters Second Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, June 23, 1864, Marietta Road, the General Commanding this division desires to draw attention to divisions, brigades and regiments, officers and men, to the conduct, undaunted courage and bravery of this Fourteenth Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, now assembled, Colonel George W. Gallup, his officers and men, who are now present before you, his officers and men, ..., who held back and checked the advance of the enemy's attack in Marietta Road in column of companies front and artillery in sections ... This noble regiment alone and determined met the advance, which had much superior numbers, with such effect, repulsed the head of their column, deliberately firing at less than forty yards into their forward line, ... ."

XX Corps Commander, General Hooker, once publicly opined that if he had had one hundred regiments like the 14th KY and officers like Colonel Gallup to lead them, he "...could take Richmond or Washington City." The regiment fought at the Battles of Ivy Mtn., Middle Creek, and Salyersville, in KY; Lost Mtn. GA; Laurel Creek and Magoffin Creek, W. VA; New Hope Church, Kennesaw, Peachtree Creek, Cobb Station, and Jonesboro GA; Johnsonville, TN; and Atlanta, Kolb's Farm and Marietta, GA, suffering 39 men killed in action, and many more died of disease, wounded or sickened.

ColonelGeorgeWGallup.jpg GWGallup Pic 2.jpg Col GW Gallup Dust Cover Close-Up.JPG Col GW Gallup Watch Dial.JPG Col GW Gallup Watch Movement.JPG Col GW Gallup Watch Front.JPG Col GW Gallup Cuvette.JPG
 
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richiec

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Thanks for the pictures and biography, Clilnt, love it when you can get a watch and all of the provenance attached to it.
 

richiec

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Clint, I did a little more research on George-his middle name was Washington, listed as a US commissioner from Catlettsburgh, Boyd, KY, also postmaster of said town 1876-9 from what I can find, his son became a jeweler and optician in the same town. His widow was still alive as of 1912 living with son, George Fredericks. As postmaster he made $787.68 in 1877 and was making $842.85 in 1879, pretty good wages in those days. He is buried in the Ashland Cemetery, Ashland, KY, died 12-31/1880, born 10-12-1828. His wife applied for her Civil War widow benefit in 1884.
 
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Clint Geller

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Clint, I did a little more research on George-his middle name was Washington, listed as a US commissioner from Catlettsburgh, Boyd, KY, also postmaster of said town 1876-9 from what I can find, his son became a jeweler and optician in the same town. His widow was still alive as of 1912 living with son, George Fredericks. As postmaster he made $787.68 in 1877 and was making $842.85 in 1879, pretty good wages in those days. He is buried in the Ashland Cemetery, Ashland, KY, died 12-31/1880, born 10-12-1828. His wife applied for her Civil War widow benefit in 1884.
Nice. Thanks, Richie. I was aware he was a Cattlettsburg Commissioner and Postmaster, but could not find his middle name.
 

Clint Geller

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Update and correction on the 14th KY's casualties:

The regiment lost a total of 201 men during service; 5 officers and 49 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, 5 officers and 142 enlisted men died of disease.
 

musicguy

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Great story, thanks for sharing
 

Clint Geller

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Awesome find Clint....love the presentation watches. Great Story. Congratulations!
Here's something I stumbled across just recently on another website I frequent, documenting the 14th KY's significant role in the battle of Kolb's Farm, in Georgia.

The link does not appear to be working, and I can't figure out how to delete this.
[pdf]458899[/pdf]
 

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Tom McIntyre

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Great story Clint. The case looks like it could be American made. Can you post a better picture or pictures of the case marks?
 

Clint Geller

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Great story Clint. The case looks like it could be American made. Can you post a better picture or pictures of the case marks?
Thanks, Tom. The watch is with a friend at the moment, having the timing adjusted. This is the best picture of the case markings, on the interior of the front lid, which I have available at the moment, but I'll be happy to post the better picture you requested when I receive the watch back. The interior of the outermost rear case lid shows the same "A. S." marking as on the front lid. I think it is likely a retailer's mark, but perhaps it is a case maker's mark as well. I too believe the case is likely American. 310129.jpg
 

Tom McIntyre

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The link was a word file. I converted it to a pdf and posted a thumbnail of it. Click that to see a bigger picture.
 

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