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M1859 Federal Issue Horse Bit, found at Shepherdstown, WV


Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is a standard M1859 Federal issue horse bit. The brass “U.S.” rosettes are missing, either removed intentionally or fell off. Ken Knopp, the author and expert on Civil War horse equipment, looked at this bit and made the following comment: “With these straight bar bits (no ports) were generally used as driving bits (mules and horses on wagons) and not riding bits”. This bit was found many years ago at Shepherdstown, WV.

After the Battle of Antietam, on September 17, 1862, elements of Gen. Robert E. Lee's army began to withdraw across the Potomac River back into Virginia at Boteler's Ford near Shepherdstown. Artillery on the south side of the river placed by Brig. Gen. William Pendleton covered the crossing of the remainder of Lee's army that night. On September 20th, a detachment of Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter's Fifth Corps pushed across the river, attacked the Confederate rearguard and captured four guns.

That evening, pressing the Rebel defenders, Porter sent forward elements of three brigades across the river to establish a bridgehead. Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill's division counterattacked while many of the Federals were crossing and nearly annihilated the 118th Pennsylvania (the "Corn Exchange" Regiment), inflicting heavy casualties. Porter withdrew his force back to the Maryland side of the river.

This bit was part of the collection of Chester Wayne Miller of Boonsboro, Maryland. Miller was a Civil War collector for over 60 years. He was a quiet and reserved man, and no one really knew the extent of his collection. He loved to collect, but rarely sold anything he purchased, it was his passion. He had ancestors living in the Sharpsburg area during the Civil War, as well as ancestors serving in the Civil War.

This bit is in very nice condition, no rust or chipping, indicative of an early pick up. This could possibly be from one of the horses that were pulling wagons and cannons during the retreat from the battle of Antietam.

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$7.50 (Fixed shipping cost)