This fife is the finest example of an identified we have encountered in nearly thirty years! Identified to Robert C. Wright whom at the age of 21, joined the War effort on September 6th, 1864, at Allegany, NY as a musician into Company "A"188th New York Infantry. He was Mustered Out on 7/5/1865 at Sickles Hospital Alexandria, VA.
This wooden fife is a wonderful example of a typical musical wind instrument as used during the Civil War period, measuring 16 ½” long ebony body with silver furreles exhibiting fine, narrow checkering rings at the edges. delicately embellished with the inscription: “R.W Co. A 188 NY” and various designs which are enhanced with red enameled wax. Complete with its original “cheater” device constructed of pewter with brass tightening screw. These were fitted over the blow hole of a fife, so it could be played simply by blowing into it and with no training to play it in the traditional way. The body features six evenly spaced finger holes of varying size (approximately 1/4” dia). Instrument is in very good condition with no cracks or splits. Even the surface is smooth and free of blemishes.
Identified example and an outstanding museum quality example of a Civil War era fife.
Enlisted on 9/6/1864 at Allegany, NY as a Private.
On 9/26/1864 he mustered into "A" Co. NY 188th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 7/5/1865 at Alexandria, VA
(Mustered out at Sickles Hospital)
NEW YORK ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHTH INFANTRY (One Year):
One Hundred and Eighty-eighth Infantry.-Col., John E. McMahon; Lieut.-Col., Isaac Doolittle; Maj., Christopher C. Davis.
This regiment, recruited in the counties of Monroe, Ontario, Livingston, Yates and Steuben, rendezvoused at Rochester, where it was mustered into the U. S. service for one year on Oct. 4-22, 1864, except Co. A, which was mustered in at Elmira on Sept. 24. Co. K did not join the regiment until sometime in November.
Under Maj. Davis it left the state on Oct. 13, and at once joined the army under Grant before Petersburg. On its arrival at the front it was placed in Gregory's brigade of Griffin's division, 5th corps, and was actively engaged with this command in the first of the battles at Hatcher's run, losing 7 killed, 46 wounded and 1 missing.
In December it participated in the raid to Hicksford, Va., and in Feb., 1865, it was again engaged at Hatcher's run with a loss of 10 killed, 21 wounded and 3 missing. During the Appomattox campaign the regiment fought with its corps at White Oak ridge, Gravelly run and Five Forks, when its casualties aggregated 45 killed and wounded.
It was also active in the final assault on Petersburg and was present on the 9th at Appomattox, when Lee surrendered. Under Col. McMahon, It was mustered out at Washington, D. C., July 1, 1865. During its brief term of active service the regiment lost by death 1 officer and 36 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded; 53 enlisted men died from disease and other causes; total deaths, 90.
Inventory Number: MUS 074 / SOLD