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Officer’s Folding Carpet Chair from the 128th Pennsylvania Infantry, POW at Chancellorsville (SOLD,EK)

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Product Description

This is another nice piece being offered, it is an identified Civil War officer’s folding camp chair. The wooden chair has a carpet seat and when folded up in the closed positioned measures 16” x 26”. The chair folds up nicely and has the carrying handle built into the frame – this is what made it ideal to be used in camp. An old tag on the top of the chair states “Folding chair used in the Civil War. Taken from the West Chester GAR Apr. 1925”. Another small tag states “FM Yeag[er]. This is for Captain Frederick Musser Yeager, who owned the chair.

Originally, Yeager joined the 25th Pennsylvania Infantry in April 1861 and served for 90 days. Yeager was mustered into the 128th Penn. Infantry in July of 1862, assisting in raising six companies, and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant of Company K, on August 15, 1862. He commanded the left part of his company in the advance through the East Woods and towards Dunkard Church on the 17th of September 1862 at the Battle of Antietam.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Captain Yeager was captured and became a POW. While 172 men were able to make their way to safety, 9 officers and 225 men were captured. On May 12, the 128th was relieved from duty and moved to Harrisburg to muster out. Captain Yeager and the other captured men were paroled and returned in time to muster out.

All the wood is tight and solid, no visible repairs. The carpet seat appears original and is in nice condition, with the bindings tight and only showing signs of normal use. Although the seat is tight, I wouldn't try sitting on it and use it only for display. These camp chairs are often seen in period Civil War photographs of camp scenes. An almost identical example of this chair is pictured in “The Civil War Collectors Encyclopedia”, by Francis Lord. I also have one from my personal collection pictured in my recent book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items” (see pictures).

These camp chairs have become very difficult to find in the past several years, especially in such nice condition as this one and being identified. There is also an example of this chair on display at the National Civil War Medical Museum in Frederick, Maryland (see pictures). Another example is in "Civil War Medical Instruments and Equipment", by Dr. Gordon Dammann (see pictures). Another is in the Gettysburg National Park collection (see pictures). It would look great in a Civil War soldier’s camp display.

It was a common practice during the late 19th century and early 20th century for veterans and their families to donate artifacts used during the Civil War. This chair was one that was in the West Chester, Pennsylvania GAR Post. As Civil War veterans passed, the GAR Posts would begin to shut down and many of the items sold off, as was Captain Yeager’s chair. All the records of Yeager and the units he served in will be included.

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