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  • "Battle of Gettysburg - The Relics, Artifacts & Souvenirs"

Artillery Hammer with Buck & Ball, Found at the Roulette Farm, Antietam Battlefield


Product Description

This is truly a unique item being offered, it is a Civil War Gunner’s Artillery hammer. It measures 9” x 3 ¾” and embedded near the head section is a Buck & Ball bullet. You can see the larger ball and one, maybe two of the smaller ones. It is not into the iron hammer itself, but in the crustation surrounding it. It was found at the Roulette Farm on the Antietam Battlefield by Bill Gavin, and he left it just as he found it.

By Tuesday, September 16th, having heard the sounds of battle coming from South Mountain, William Roulette took his family to the Manor Church, a Brethren church located six miles north of the battlefield. However, the farm couldn’t be left alone indefinitely, so William returned on September 17. When intense firing began he went into the cellar for safety (see period photograph).

After the battle, many wounded Union soldiers were taken back to the Roulette barn. Union soldiers who held the field began the grim task of burying the dead. Mr. Roulette reported that 700 soldiers were buried on his property alone. Some of the most famous photographs that Alexander Gardner and James Gibson, photographers employed by Matthew Brady, took during their time at Antietam were taken close to where the Roulette Farm Lane intersects the Sunken Road. This series of photos was the first time in the United States that war dead had been photographed before they were buried.

The farm remained in the Roulette family until 1956. In 1998, the Richard King Mellon Foundation purchased the farm and donated it to Antietam National Battlefield. Today, the Roulette farm helps us to picture the landscape that Union troops advanced through toward the Sunken Road and to understand the depth of suffering that followed in the wake of the twelve-hour battle. The house and farm stand today as a symbol of not only bravery, but also perseverance and resilience in the face of trauma.

This item is from the collection of the late William G. "Bill" Gavin, one of the nation's most prominent and esteemed Civil War relic collectors. Following graduation from West Point [Class of 1946], Gavin became a pioneer in applying WWII mine-detector technology to relic hunting. Along the way, he became an avid historian whose collection, with its origins dating back to the 1930's, was enhanced by his acute knowledge of battlefield troop movements.

Mr. Gavin shared his Civil War knowledge via the publication of four books and several magazine articles. In 1963 he authored one of the earliest books on relic buckles (Accoutrement Plates North and South, 1861-65), and in the 1970s established The Rectory Museum in Harper's Ferry, where this artifact was previously on display. I have a similar hammer which came out of the Gettysburg Museum and is in two of my books “Battle of Gettysburg – The Relics Artifacts & Souvenirs” and in “Civil War Artillery – A Pictorial Introduction” (see pictures).

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$12.50 (Fixed shipping cost)