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  • Sheffield Dagger Picked Up at Tranter’s Creek, North Carolina by Sergeant George A. Colton, 3rd New York Cavalry/ SOD

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    Sheffield Dagger Picked Up at Tranter’s Creek, North Carolina by Sergeant George A. Colton, 3rd New York Cavalry - Inventory Number:  EDG 098 / SOLD

    Bone handled dagger marked “H.C. BOOTH & Co. /SILVER STEEL/ SHEFFIELD” on the ricasso. The German silver guard is inscribed “3d N.Y. CAV. SERGT. GEO A. COLTON” on one side and “PICKED UP AT TRANTER’S CREEK, N.C.” George A. Colton (listed incorrectly as “Cotton” in the roster) enlisted in August 1861 as a private in the 3rd New York Cavalry. The Honors of the Empire State in the War of the Rebellion by Thomas Townsend highlights the incident near Tranter’s Creek where Colton acquired this dagger. “The brave sergeant led a little party of four men in a brilliant charge against forty of the Confederates at Tranter’s Creek, N.C.” The New York State Military Museum has a newspaper clipping from the New York Tribune that goes into further detail on the action. “New Bern, N.C. June 7, 1862. Sergeant Colton, Corporal Lawson, and privates Green, Platt, Cyphers, Flagler, and Reed of Co. I, while scouting near Tranter's Creek, about 8 miles above Washington, on the 2d inst., were surprised and surrounded by Rebel infantry rushing in upon them from the woods which skirt the Greenville Road at that point, entirely, as the Rebels thought, cutting them off from escape, as our men were outnumbered ten to one. The cavalry charged the Rebels, and four of the seven succeeded in cutting their way through them. Sergeant Colton, and Flagler, and Reed had their horses killed under them—the two latter being made prisoners. Sergeant Colton received two gun-shot wounds in the face and shoulder, but succeeded in escaping by getting up behind another trooper and riding off. These men are from Syracuse, N. Y.” The dagger has the name “D. McGuin” inscribed on the handle, possibly the Confederate soldier who originally carried it. A soldier named “D. McGuin is listed as a private on the roster of Morphis’ Independent Company, Mississippi Scouts. The dagger measures 8 ¾” in total length and has two chips on one of the bone scales. Otherwise in very good condition with a sharp edge and the original leather and German silver sheath, which is missing the tip. An excellent Civil War soldier’s knife with an amazing history.

    George A. Cotton - 27 years old. Enlisted on 8/19/1861 at Syracuse, NY as a Private. On 9/9/1861 he mustered into "I" Co. NY 3rd Cavalry. He was Mustered Out on 9/8/1864. He was listed as:  Wounded 6/2/1862 Washington, NC. Promotions: Sergt 10/8/1861. Private 12/3/1862 (Reduced to ranks).


    Third Cavalry.-Cols., James H. Van Alen, Simon H. Mix, George W. Lewis; Lieut.-Cols., Simon H. Mix, John Mix, George W. Lewis, Ferris Jacobs, Jr., Samuel C. Pierce; Majs., John Mix, Charles Fitz Simmons, Ferris Jacobs, Jr., Alonzo Stearns, Israel H. Putnam, George W. Lewis, George W. Cole, John M. Wilson, Jeptha Garrard, Newton Hall, John Ebbs.

    The regiment was named in honor of its first colonel, James H. Van Alen, who received authority from the war department on July 26, 1861, to recruit a regiment of cavalry.  As fast as organized the several companies left the state and proceeded to Meridian hill, Washington, where the regiment was organized early in September, Col. Van Alen assuming command on the 9th.  Cos. A, C and H were recruited at Rochester; B at Syracuse; D at Schoharie, Schenevus, Schaghticoke, Albany, Cobleskill, Gallupville and Unadilla; E at Delhi, Deposit, Elmira, Margaretville, Middletown and Walton; F at Medina, Newstead and Newfane; G at Utica, Leyden, Boonville, Lowville and Watson; I at Syracuse and North Hamburg; K at Elmira, Brockport and Rochester; L at Cincinnati and Xenia, Ohio.

    The original Co. M was a New Jersey company, which was transferred in April, 1862, to the 1st N. J. cavalry and a new company M was raised at Rochester and Brockport in Sept., 1862, to take its place.  The different companies were mustered into the U. S. service at various periods from May 14 to Sept. 13, 1861, at Syracuse, Albany, Elmira, Boonville and Cincinnati, Ohio, for three years.

    Before the expiration of its term of service in 1864, many of the original members reenlisted and with the recruits continued in the service.  The regiment served in Banks' and Stone's divisions, Army of the Potomac, until April, 1862, when it was ordered South and served in the Department of North Carolina and the 18th corps during the remainder of 1862 and all of 1863.

    In April, 1864, it was assigned to the 1st brigade, Kautz's cavalry divistion, Army of the James, and saw much hard service with that organization during the remainder of the war.  In the operations against Petersburg in May, 1864, the 3d lost a total of 37 killed, wounded and missing; in the raid to the South Side and Danville railroads in June it met with a loss of 105 killed, wounded and missing; and in the action on the Darbytown road in October its loss amounted to 52.

    When Col. Van Alen resigned in April, 1862, he was succeeded by Col. Simon H. Mix, who developed into one of the most intrepid and efficient cavalry leaders in the service.  He commanded the regiment with distinguished credit until June 15, 1864, when he fell in action before Petersburg and Lieut.-Col. George W. Lewis succeeded to the colonelcy.

    In July, 1865, while stationed at Norfolk Va., the regiment was reduced by consolidation to five companies, A, B, C, F and L, and on July 21 it was united with the 1st mounted rifles to form the 4th provisional regiment volunteer cavalry (q. v.).  During its entire term of service the 3d took part in about 122 engagements, besides many minor affairs.

    The regiment lost 3 officers and 48 men killed in action and mortally wounded; 1 officer and 155 men died of disease, accidents, etc.; total deaths, 207, of whom 38 men died as prisoners.  Five officers and 170 men are recorded as missing.

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     Inventory Number:  EDG 098 / SOLD