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Bell used as alarm on Union Picket Line, Kentucky

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Product Description

This is another unique piece out of the Civil War collection I recently acquired; it is a large bell, similar to a cow bell. It is crudely made of heavy sheet iron, weights over two pounds and measures 7” x 6” x 3”. As stated on the paper tag, it was recovered along a Union Picket line at Covington, Kentucky.

Covington can be entered from Ohio over the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge, which was under construction during the Civil War. Its progress was slowed by Union interference early in the War, but then resumed as the Union military leaders realized the importance of the bridge for moving troops south. A military pontoon bridge just east of the Roebling Bridge served as the only bridge during the War – the Roebling Bridge was not completed until the end of 1866.

In the summer of 1862, following the Confederate invasion of Kentucky, Covington was fortified by Union troops with 20 fortifications and batteries and the tensions ran high. Remains of batteries that can be found in and around Covington are Bates, Holt, Larz Anderson, McLean, and Shaler. The nearby towns of Fort Mitchell and Fort Wright are named for the forts that were built there. The local historical marker states “Reports of Kirby Smith’s CSA troops approaching Cincinnati caused panic in September, 1862” (see pictures).

Because of its location, Covington was very strategic in preventing attacks into Ohio. Being that this bell was recovered along the picket line, it was no doubt placed with others to serve as alarms to signal those on picket duty of Confederates attempting to penetrate the lines.

This truly is a great piece and something you don’t come across very often. It is very solid and is complete with the free moving clapper – it makes a loud deep mellow ring. A real conversation piece.  

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