November 22, 2014

Civil War Era Antiques & Collectibles

Can you think of any other period of our brief history where so many fascinating individuals occupied center stage of an armed conflict at the same time? These were giants amongst giants and we recognize their names still; Lee, Grant, Jackson, Custer, Stuart, Sheridan, Ashby, McClellan, Merritt, Mosby, Hampton, and Forrest. The list is endless and surely I cannot name them all.

The Civil War still haunts us. There’s Mosby slipping through Federal picket lines, then capturing Brigadier General Edwin H. Stoughton, while asleep in bed, at his own headquarters at Fairfax Courthouse, Va., the evening of March 8-9, 1863! I would be willing to wager that Mosby and the boys hooted and howled over that one for a very long time. Custer and Stuart at Gettysburg, Forrest with his many charges sending the Federals into wild retreat. Who charges in TWO directions at the same time when you are outnumbered? Then, and finally, the sad ending at Appomattox Courthouse with Lee and Grant chatting like old friends. It’s all the stuff of legends.

I am pleased to be able to say that one of my ancestors who fought for the South was Colonel Charles Reed Collins of the 15th Virginia Cavalry which was part of JEB Stuart’s Cavalry Corps, Fitzhugh Lee’s Division and Lomax’s Brigade. Colonel Collins was a West Point graduate in 1859. He resigned from the US Army 6-10-61. Became a First Lt. CS Artillery 7-23-61 and was promoted to Captain CS Engineers 10-7-61. Promoted and assigned to the 15th Virginia as a Major 4-23-63 and received yet another promotion to Colonel on 2-14-1864 for “valor and skill.” KIA at Todd’s Tavern 5-7-64 at age 27, 7 months shy of his 28th birthday. The main Federal attacks at Todd’s Tavern were conducted by Sheridan’s Reserve Brigade and Custer’s Brigade.

Have you ever wondered what leads or draws you to a certain place or interest? Although I like horses, my affinity for mounted troops of that period does not come from owning a horse, because I do not. Charles Reed Collins is my link. JEB Stuart and George Armstrong Custer occupy prominent places on this site. Col. Collins was part of Stuart’s Cavalry Corps and Custer and Collins were at West Point together albeit two years apart. Custer and Collins most certainly knew each other well, given the small size of West Point Classes at that time. How ironic that Custer’s Brigade was part of the action where Collins was killed.

There is one other bit of irony concerning myself and Charles Reed Collins. We were both born in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. I do not believe my connection to this period accidental.

The artifacts found on this site are our connection to the past and the soldiers who used them. Welcome to CIVIL WAR HORSE. Enjoy the ride.

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