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  • U.S. Belt Buckle Embossed “H.E. Swain”, 1st New Hampshire Cavalry / SOLD

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    U.S. Belt Buckle Embossed “H.E. Swain” - Inventory Number: BEL 397 / SOLD

    Non-excavated US 1839 pattern belt buckle with a deep, uncleaned patina on the face. The rear is lead filled with arrow style belt hooks behind the ‘U.” Twice stamped into the back of the lead fill is the name “H.E. SWAIN.” The American Civil War Research Database shows only one match, Private H.E. Swain of the 1st New Hampshire Cavalry, who enlisted in early March 1865 and was mustered out in July. The plate was acquired by the previous owner from The Horse Soldier in Gettysburg and still retains the original tag.  An attractive specimen.

    Henry E. Swain

    Residence was not listed; 26 years old.

    Enlisted on 3/6/1865 as a Private.

    On 3/6/1865 he mustered into "A" Co. NH 1st Cavalry

    He was Mustered Out on 7/15/1865 at Cloud's Mills, VA

    Other Information:

    born in Antrim, NH

    After the War he lived in Antrim, NH

    NEW HAMPSHIRE BATTALION, FIRST REGIMENT NEW ENGLAND VOLUNTEER CAVALRY. (Also known as First Rhode Island Volunteer Cavalry.) (Three Years.)

         By EZRA B. PARKER, late Captain First Regiment New England Volunteer Cavalry.

         THE First New England Cavalry was the first full regiment of this arm of the service raised in New England.  The regiment was composed of three battalions.  The First and Third were enlisted in Rhode Island and the Second in New Hampshire.

         The New Hampshire Battalion--Companies I, K, L, and M--was recruited mostly from the northern and central portions of the State, but enlistments for mounted service came quickly from all sections.

         The first rendezvous was at the Fair Grounds, near Concord, east of the river, in the fall of 1861, where the battalion organization was completed, mustered into service, and horses supplied.

         The New Hampshire Battalion joined the two Rhode Island Battalions at Pawtucket, R. I., January 22, 1862, where the regimental organization was perfected.

         At the outset the men were armed with sabres, Colt's revolvers, and the Burnside carbine.  This carbine was later replaced by Sharpe's.

         The command, one thousand officers and men, under Col. R. B. Lawton, a captain in the Third United States Cavalry, left Rhode Island March 12, 1862, reached Washington March 18, and was assigned to cavalry brigade under General Stoneman on East Capitol Hill.

         On March 31 the name of the regiment was changed from First New England Cavalry to First Rhode Island Cavalry, by order of the War Department, unsupported by any preliminary correspondence with Governor Berry of New Hampshire.  This act, effacing as it did the original character of the regiment, was grievously received by the men and bitterly felt throughout the State.  But a prompt disavowal of intended injustice, combined with the sympathetic and noble spirit displayed by the officers and men from Rhode Island, did much to heal the wound and fraternize the command.  But the camp guidon, inscribed "First New England Cavalry," was cherished and preserved to the end.

         The New Hampshire Battalion, however, a little later, on May 30, while temporarily detached from the regiment, had an opportunity at Front Royal, Va., to write their identity with their newly-ground sabres, where, wholly unsupported, they performed one of the most brilliant exploits of the war under the eye of Major-General Shields, who that night published an order reciting the valor of the "brave Granite State troopers."

         Colonel Lawton and Lieutenant-Colonel Sayles resigned July 8, and were succeeded by Maj. A. N. Duffie as colonel, and Capt. J. L. Thompson of the New Hampshire Battalion, as lieutenant-colonel.

         The drill and discipline of the six weeks, commencing with this change of field officers, resulted in incalculable benefit in developing the regiment to its celebrated condition of battalion evolution and utility for service.  To such prominence did it attain that it was selected by General Hooker, commanding the Army of the Potomac, to display its proficiency before President Lincoln at the grand review at Falmouth, in the winter of 1862-'63.

         The small force of cavalry attached to General Pope's Army of Virginia in the fall of 1862, decimated the ranks of the regiment by its burdensome duties and frequent conflicts with the enemy.  It fired the first shot and received the first artillery fire in the four great battles of this campaign, viz., Cedar Mountain, Groveton, second Bull Run, and Chantilly.

         The regiment was in line on Falmouth Heights all of the first day of the battle of Fredericksburg, waiting orders to cross the river and engage the enemy; and that night a detachment was hurried to Dumfries to repel a guerilla attack on the Government supplies at that point.  Two companies, K and M, were on duty at General Stoneman's headquarters during the Fredericksburg fight.

         "Forty winks" was an adult potion for the cavalry in the winter of 1862-'63.  They slept in the saddle.

         Raids on both sides, night attacks in force on the picket line, was the rule, not the exception.  It was "play ball" all the time.

         The successful initial exclusive cavalry fight, on both sides, at Kelly's Ford, March 17, 1863, resulted in the organization of all the cavalry into one army corps, and its subsequent career furnishes a conspicuous part of the history of the fighting.  Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania brought it to the front.


         The perilous and untenable position which the regiment, then numbering less than four hundred, was ordered to carry and hold at Middleburgh, on June 18, is a sample of the demand made upon it; but it never faltered nor failed.  Confronted and hemmed in by a force twenty times their number, they heroically cut their way out, with a loss of over two hundred in killed, wounded, and captured.  To add to the unfortunate condition of the captured, the cartel for the exchange of prisoners had been recently suspended, and was never again but partially restored.  The writer of this sketch, then adjutant of the regiment, "boarded" nine months in Libby prison, with many others.

         The regiment did not participate, as an organization, in the battle of Gettysburg, but two men of the New Hampshire Battalion were on mounted duty at Major-General Sickles's headquarters, and both were killed.

         The men were immediately re-enlisted for another three years, forming the four veteran companies of the First New Hampshire Cavalry.

         The regiment had two colonels, Robert B. Lawton, Alfred N. Duffie; two lieutenant-colonels, Willard Sayles, John L. Thompson; ten majors, Willard Sayles, William Sanford, John L. Thompson, Robert C. Anthony, David B. Nelson, Preston M. Farrington, John Whipple, Jr., Edmund C. Burt, Stephen R. Swett, and William H. Turner; four adjutants, Augustus W. Corliss, George T. Cram, Charles S. Treat, Ezra B. Parker.

         The First Regiment New England Volunteer Cavalry (also known as First Regiment Rhode Island Volunteer Cavalry) was attached to Abercrombie's Brigade, Department of the Rappahannock, April 1, 1862; Third (Hartsuff's) Brigade, Second Division, Department of the Rappahannock, May 2, 1862; Department of the Shenandoah, May 24,1862; Shield's Division, Department of the Shenandoah, June 1, 1862; Third Army Corps, Army of Virginia, June 28, 1862; Cavalry Brigade, Third Army Corps, Army of Virginia, August, 1862; Corps of Observation, Defenses of Washington, September 14, 1862; Stoneman's Division, Army of the Potomac, October 28,1862; First Cavalry Brigade, Centre Grand Division, Army of the Potomac, November 16, 1862; First Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, February 25, 1863; Twenty-second Army Corps, Department of Washington, June 21, 1863; Second Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, July, 1863; First Brigade, Second Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, August 13, 1863.  Companies I, K, L, and M, were permanently detached January 7, 1864, and became Companies I, K, L, and M, First Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Cavalry.



    Front Royal, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  May 30, 1862

            (The New Hampshire Battalion.)

    Cedar Mountain, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Aug. 9, 1862

    Groveton, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Aug. 29, 1862

    Bull Run (second), Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Aug. 30, 1862

    Chantilly, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Sept. 1, 1862

    Mountville, Va. (Cos. L, K, and M)  .  .  .  .  . Oct. 31, 1862

    Fredericksburg, Va. (Cos. K and M)  .  .  .  . Dec. 12-14, 1862

    Hartwood Church, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Feb. 26, 1863

    Kelly's Ford, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Mar. 17, 1863

    Stoneman's Raid, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  April 27 to May 8, 1863

    Brandy Station, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  June 9, 1863

    Thoroughfare Gap, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  June 17, 1863

    Middleburgh, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . June 18, 1863

    Rapidan Station, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Sept. 14, 1863

    Culpeper (or White Sulphur Springs, also called Warrenton

    Springs), Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Oct. 12, 1863

    Bristoe Station, Va.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Oct. 14, 1863

    Comes housed in a 6 x 8 inch display case with red velvet backing and descriptive card.


     Inventory Number: BEL 397 / SOLD