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  • Officer’s Gauntlets of Lieutenant John Thomas Maginnis, 18th Connecticut Infantry Captured at Winchester and Held at Libby Prison Killed at the Battle of Piedmont / SOLD

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    Officer’s Gauntlets of Lieutenant John Thomas Maginnis, 18th Connecticut Infantry Captured at Winchester and Held at Libby Prison Killed at the Battle of Piedmont - Inventory Number: UNI 141 / SOLD

    Buckskin gauntlets worn by John Thomas Maginnis, who was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 18th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862. The regiment was part of the 8th Corps and suffered severely in killed and wounded at the Second Battle of Winchester during the Gettysburg Campaign, where the regiment was captured en masse. Lieutenant Maginnis was held for nine months at Libby Prison. The regimental history provides a brief account of Maginnis’ service. 

    “They were immediately marched to Libby Prison, Richmond, suffering greatly from fatigue, thirst and hunger, where they arrived June 23d, 1863. Lieut. McGinnis was not discharged until March 16th, 1864.  At one time while in prison he was very sick. From cold, privation and suffering he contracted a cough from which he never recovered. Receiving a furlough he returned home to his family for a few weeks, and though still suffering from illness, when his leave of absence expired he expressed an ardent desire to return to his regiment, many of whom he had not seen for ten months. His lungs were visibly affected. Many of his friends endeavored to have him obtain an extension of furlough, but his reply was: 'My boys are already in the field; they are on the march; they need me. My country needs the help of every single arm. Of what account is my poor life, and of what account are the lives of a million men if thereby our nation is saved.' It was hard parting from his family, but God gave him strength. He joined his regiment, then under Gen. Hunter, near Strasburg, Va, May 24th, 1864. His last words were true to himself and his great nature. He writes from Woodstock, Va.: 'I regret that my health is not sufficiently good to justify much exposure, but poor as it is I wish you to know and feel that I shall not shirk my duty in the hour of trial.'  On the morning of Sunday, June 5th, 1864, Gen.Hunter's command met the rebels, under Gen. Jones, at Piedmont, Va. Lieut. McGinnis led his company into action, and by his coolness and bravery, as in former battles, won the praise and admiration of his brother soldiers. At mid-day he fell mortally wounded in the left forehead, killed by an English Tower rifle ball.  'If I am to fall’ said he, 'let it be on a victorious battlefield, amid the cheers of the boys in blue, and under the triumphant shadows of our noble flag.' The prayer of the brave lieutenant was answered. He proved himself, like thousands of his countrymen, a true patriot, a brave soldier, a noble man. His name is honorably mentioned by Col. Ely, of the Eighteenth Regiment, in his report to the adjutant general, 'as a valuable officer, who in camp inspired the soldiers to excel in the faithful discharge of military duties, and on the battle-field encouraged the men by gallant examples.' One who knew him best has written: 'Lieut. McGinnis was an honest, upright, whole-souled man; everywhere and under all circumstances a true gentleman. No officer in the regiment had more attached and devoted friends than he, and among his military companions, as well as in a wide circle of relatives and friends, his loss will be deeply and sincerely felt.' Each gauntlet has an ink inscription by Maginnis with his company, regiment, and “1862”. They remain in very good condition with supple leather and light soiling from use. The gauntlets are housed in a wood and glass display case, and the lot includes a binder with additional information on Maginnis and the 18th Connecticut, as well as copies of photographs of Maginnis wearing these exact gloves. A wonderful identified pair of gauntlets from a brave Union officer. 

    John T. Maginnis - Residence Salem CT; Enlisted on 7/25/1862 as a 2nd Lieutenant. On 8/18/1862 he was commissioned into "E" Co. CT 18th Infantry. He was Killed on 6/5/1864 at Piedmont, VA. He was listed as: POW 6/15/1863 Winchester, VA (Confined at Macon, GA). Paroled 3/14/1864 Macon, GA. Promotions: 1st Lieut 12/26/1862..



         AUGUST 4,1862, in response to the call of Governor William A. Buckingham, the formation of the Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers was begun at Camp Aiken, Norwich, Conn., under the supervision of General Daniel Tyler.  August 11th Colonel William G. Ely, who had been promoted from the lieutenant-colonelcy of the Sixth Regiment, took command.  Officers and men were inspired with patriotic enthusiasm, and in eleven days left Norwich with a full regiment, composed of the best blood of New London and Windham Counties.  They marched under elegant colors, presented by the ladies of Norwich.

         August 24th the regiment camped at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, and remained in that vicinity until ordered to the Shenandoah Valley, May 22, 1863.  Its first battle was at Winchester, Va., June 13th, 14th, and 15th, under General Milroy's command.  The engagement was disastrous to the Union forces.  Milroy had but 7,000 men, and his opponent, General Early, 30,000, and 87 field guns.  The Eighteenth won unqualified praise from General Milroy for its desperate fighting.  In a third and last charge it wholly disabled a Confederate battery; but it had charged into the center of General Johnson's Division, 9,000 strong, and 500 of its men were captured.  General Walker, of Stonewall Jackson's Brigade, generously praised the valor and discipline of the Eighteenth Regiment, and returned Colonel Ely's sword to him on the battle-field.  Color-Sergeant George Torrey escaped with the regimental colors.  General Milroy met the Eighteenth at Martinsburg, on their return from rebel prisons, and made the following speech:

         "SOLDIERS OF THE EIGHTEENTH: Since I last saw you, you have suffered captivity in rebel prisons.  We have been separated since then; but I have come to see you, and to praise you for your gallantry.

         "I saw you in the second day's fight, as you charged the enemy from your rifle-pits and drove them back upon their reserves, holding them in check until night, when you fell back, but with your face to the foe.  Again I saw you the next morning, facing as hot a fire as I ever witnessed.  I looked in vain to see you waver.

         "Boys, it was a hot place,--a hot place.

         "I saw you go where none but brave men dare to go; saw you make three successful charges, preserving your line as well as if on dress-parade.  I witnessed it all.  I saw you as you broke the first line of rebel infantry, and charged up to their batteries, driving away their gunners, still pressing on, and breaking their reserves.  But a third line was too strong for you; I knew it was.  Only then did you fall back, when your lines were broken, and many brave Connecticut men lay bleeding on the field.  But you only fell back to re-form and give them another taste of your steel.  I knew it was madness to order you forward again; it was ordering you to death and annihilation.  Boys, I watched you with pride as you charged the third time; but when I saw your ranks withering, and your comrades falling, it made my heart grow sad within me, and I ordered you to fall back.  You know the rest.  You were surrounded, and there was no escape.  But I miss your noble commander, Colonel Ely.  May he soon return to you!  Boys, to your valor I owe my safety.  You come from a State whose soldiers never disgrace themselves nor their flag.  I am proud of you."

         It is due to General Milroy to say that if he, with his little army, numbering less than seven thousand men, had not held in check the advance of Lee's army at Winchester for three days, by which the Army of the Potomac gained time, the battle fought at Gettysburg would probably have taken place nearer Philadelphia--and perhaps with different results.

         At Newmarket, Va., May 15, 1864, the Eighteenth, commanded by Major Henry Peale, shared in General Sigel's defeat, with a loss of fifty-one in killed and wounded.  June 5th, the Eighteenth formed a part of General Hunter's command.

         Colonel William G. Ely, commanding, in his official report, says:

         "The Eighteenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers were on the right of General Hunter's line of battle.  Its colors took the lead in the first charge, and floated defiantly until we triumphed.  All of the color-guard were wounded but one.  Our banner riddled by minie-balls and cannon-shot, and a loss of one hundred and twenty-seven in killed and wounded, tells our story.  Officers and men behaved most gallantly, obeying orders with alacrity even in the thickest of the fight.  The victory was completed by the total rout of the rebels and the capture of fifteen hundred prisoners."

         The Eighteenth participated in the engagement at Lynchburg, Va., with a loss of twelve wounded.  Here General Hunter had the good sense to retire his small force of men before Early's advancing army, barely escaping capture by a retreat into Ohio, leaving exhausted horses and men to mark the route.

         In the battle at Snicker's Ford, under General Crook, the Eighteenth--now reduced to about one hundred and fifty men--participated in a drawn battle, with a loss of thirty-two in killed and wounded.  Colonel Ely was now appointed to the command of the Second Brigade, Second Division, of General Crook's Corps, and Major Henry Peale to the command of the Eighteenth Regiment.

         A week later the Eighteenth had another battle at Winchester with slight losses, and closed the list of its engagements with a fight at Berryville, Va., September 5, 1864.

         Major Peale was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy, and the regiment served in West Virginia until mustered out at Harper's Ferry, June 27, 1865.  It is but justice to say that the Eighteenth Regiment, during its stay at Fort McHenry and Fort Marshall, Baltimore, Md., gained a proficiency and excellence in military manoeuvers which subsequently gave it wonderful steadiness in action.  For this reason it was used to cover General Milroy's retreat from Winchester, General Hunter's retreat from Lynchburg, and in especially arduous duty on several other equally important occasions, in all of which the regiment won highest praise for its gallant and efficient services.

         If judged solely by the number of victories it helped to achieve, the record of the Eighteenth might seem less brilliant than that of many Connecticut regiments in the civil war.  Judged by the desperate nature of the engagements which fell to its lot, and the unflinching bravery and determination with which in every instance it bore its part, the Eighteenth stands as the peer of any regiment in the service.

         Immediately after formal muster-out at Harper's Ferry, Va., the regiment started for Connecticut and arrived in Hartford on June 29th, where it was most warmly received by Governor Buckingham in person, assisted by a distinguished delegation representing the city of Hartford and the counties of New London and Windham.


    Winchester, Va., June 13-15, 1863.

    Newmarket, Va., May 15, 1864.

    Harrisonburg, Va., June 3, 1864.

    Piedmont, Va., June 5, 1864.

    Lexington, Va., June 11, 1864.

    Buchanan, Va., June 14, 1864.

    Liberty, Va., June 16, 1864.

    Quaker Church, Va., June 17, 1864.

    Lynchburg, Va., June 18, 1864.

    Salem, Va., June 21, 1864.

    Hedgeville, Va., July 10, 1864.

    Snicker's Ford, Va., July 18, 1864.

    Kearnstown, Va., July 23, 1864.

    Winchester, Va., July 24, 1864.

    Martinsburg, Va., July 25, 1864.

    Cedar Creek, Va., Aug. 12, 1864.

    Stony Point and Middletown, Va., Aug. 11-12, 1864.

    Hupp's Hill, Va., Aug. 13, 1864.

    Opequon, Va., Aug. 21, 1864.

    Halltown and Charlestown, Va., Aug. 22-26, 1864.


     Inventory Number:  UNI 141 / SOLD