The November 15th auction by Numismatic Auctions, LLC (successor to Craig Whitford auctions) features an interesting item relating to the U.S. Civil War. It's the n 1834 Capped Bust Half Dollar engraved .Taken from Moseby the Guerrilla.. At my request Steve Davis forwarded the lot description and images for publication here. -Editor
1363P. Capped Bust Half Dollar, 1834. .Taken from Moseby the Guerrilla. engraved in the left obverse field between the stars and the bust. The reverse is engraved .B.H. to J.P.B. Dec. 25. 1864. in the field above the eagle. Host coin is Choice EF with dark iridescent toning, highpoints being lighter.
.Moseby the Guerrilla. is a direct reference to John Singleton Mosby (also spelled Moseby by the contemporary press), the Confederate guerrilla also known as the .Gray Ghost.. During the Civil War, Mosby joined Stuart.s cavalry at Bunker Hill, and made his first scout at Bull Run. Throughout the war he did much to harass the north. While in a sense independent, his command was always part of the cavalry of the army, and he made reports regularly to General Stuart or Lee.
Mosby.s activities during the war are well documented. The challenge is the inscription on this coin . could it have been taken directly from Mosby or one of his guerrillas in December of 1864? Why would he, or for that matter any of his men, be carrying such a high grade 1834 Half Dollar? Who were B.H. and J.P.B.? Union or Confederate soldiers?
Towards the closing months of 1864 the Federal Army was determined to put an end to Mosby's maraudering, yet they were frustrated in every attempt. "Mosby is an old rat," Colonel Charles Russell Lowell of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry wrote, "and has a great many holes."
"The whole country is full of guerillas," reflected Colonel Henry S. Gansevoort of the 13th New York Cavalry. Gansevoort "wearied of the thankless task of fighting guerillas," noting that "Mosby is continually around us."
Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant was so distressed by Mosby's successes that he ordered the partisan commander and his men hanged without trial when captured. Major General Philip Sheridan organized a special task force of 100 men armed with Spencer carbines to hunt down and destroy Mosby's command.
On November 18, 1864, Mosby killed or captured all but two of this force. Mosby was promoted colonel in December 1864 and his command had increased to 800 men, however, the war was by now coming to its conclusion. Twelve days after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, Mosby reviewed his troops for the last time and disbanded them at Salem, Virginia. "I am no longer your commander," Mosby told his men, "Farewell."
A coin worthy of more research by the Civil War collector or history detective.
For more information on the sale, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org . -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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