The Civil War was the most expensive and deadliest conflict ever fought on American soil. The History Channel’s website reports that it resulted in “620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin.” Many scholars, history buffs, and collectors remain fascinated with the Civil War and how it impacted the country.

The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina in April 12, 1861. After being bombarded by Confederate artillery, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort within 2 days to the Confederate forces under Pierre G.T. Beauregard. There were many bloody battles throughout 1862 and 1863. In 1864 “Sherman’s March to the Sea” helped bring an end to the conflict. According to the History Channel, “From November 15 until December 21, 1864, Union General William T. Sherman led some 60,000 soldiers on a 285-mile march from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia." The troops stole food and burned houses and barns of those who fought them along their route. Sherman wanted to “make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.” In the spring of 1865, General Meade and General Grant pursued the Confederates along the Appomattox River. The Southern troops were low on supplies and outnumbered. General Lee finally decided that he must surrender and is quoted as writing “there is nothing left for me to do but to go and see Gen. Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9th. There is far too much history to cover the entire Civil War in this column. There is also a large amount of memorabilia. I plan to discuss Civil War memorabilia further in a future column. We will be auctioning an important piece of Civil War era memorabilia that warrants a column of its own.

The Civil War era presentation sword we will be offering has a brass plate engraved “Presented by Abraham Lincoln to First Lieutenant John W. Jones commanding the Guard in the White House April 19th – May 1st 1862. A family written biography of Jones lists some of the highlights of his life. He was born in Philadelphia on May 3, 1826. He attended McKendree College in Illinois. He witnessed anti-abolitionist riots while in college. He became involved in the anti-slavery movement and was mobbed twice while giving speeches opposing slavery. During the Gold Rush in 1849, he was commissioned by Colonel Sumner as a Captain in the Cavalry. He was responsible for protecting miners in “Indian Territory” between Fort Laramie and California. Later while fighting in wars with the Indians he was said to have received no fewer than six arrow wounds. At the outbreak of the Civil War he became Provost Marshall for the city of Washington, D.C. where he guarded the White House and won the personal thanks of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln asked him to organize nine regiments from New Hampshire and Vermont during the war. He was severely wounded during battle and lay in bed several months recovering. He later moved to Brooklyn, NY and went on to work for the United States customs service. Jones also founded the “Northwestern Female College” in Evanston, IL and helped form the “United States Volunteer Lifesaving Corps.”

What will the sword sell for? We estimate $5,000 to $15,000 at our next live auction. We have sold many pieces of Civil War memorabilia, but the sword is a cut above the rest.

We will be running an estate sale on October 12th and 13th in Westborough. The preview for our Woodstock, CT online auction will also be on October 12th and 13th. Bidding ends on October 16th. I’ll also be lecturing on antiques at the Worcester Senior Center on October 16th from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. I’ll be appraising items at the Shrewsbury Historical Society on October 23rd. Please see for details on these and other events.

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111),