Historic Donation to Gettysburg National Military Park Offers Rare Artifacts and Incredible Research Opportunities in the Future

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Date: January 11, 2013
Contact: Katie Lawhon, (717) 334-1124, ext. 3121

Kirby and Bashein with donation
Superintedent Bob Kirby with Craig Bashein

(National Park Service)

On December 28, 2012, Craig Bashein, a prominent attorney and Civil War collector in Cleveland, Ohio, made a historic donation of artifacts to the Gettysburg National Military Park of rare one-of-a-kind objects and a trove of war time notes and sketches that will offer enormous new opportunities to examine the Battle of Gettysburg and other Civil War battles from 1862 to 1865.

The incredible donation included 64 unpublished sketchbooks, notebooks, other record books and documents created by Emmor Bradley Cope and other staff of the topographical engineers for the Army of thePotomacfrom 1862 through 1865. The sketchbooks and notebooks provided the information necessary to help the generals understand the topography, obstacles, and the nature of the towns and countryside where these battles were occurring. A number of the 1863 sketchbooks contain hand-drawn topographical sketches, created from horseback primarily by Cope, of the Gettysburg Battlefield ordered by General George Gordon Meade from August to October 1863. Cope later became the first superintendent ofGettysburg National Military Park

In addition, the Bashein donation included: 

  • Vast collection of personal items of General Alexander S. Webb, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry and bravery at Gettysburg during Pickett's Charge. The Webb collection includes Gettysburg related artifacts, an inscribed medal presented by General George Gordon Meade for his meritorious service "on that ever memorable field of Gettysburg," Webb's pistol, Hardee hat and field binoculars.
  • Battlefield Map of Gettysburg by Captain J.D. Briscoe, an aide to General David Bell Birney - a detailed map with hand drawn annotations of troop positions, inscribed by General Birney that was used to accompany his testimony on the Battle of Gettysburg to the Committee on the Conduct of the War held in the early spring of 1864. This map is believed to be one of the first battlefield maps of Gettysburg ever prepared.
  • The archive of David Kendlehart, Chief Burgess of Gettysburg during the Battle, including a demand note written by Confederate General Jubal Early, making demands of the town of Gettysburg prior to the battle, and other Gettysburg related materials, and documents.
  • Civil War Cavalry Gauntlets of General Philip Sheridan, manufactured by Schuyler, Hartley and Graham later given by Sheridan to Captain Augustus Paul. Accompanied by an original letter of provenance dated October 25th 1892.
  • Engraved Coin Silver Pocket Watch of Union General-in-Chief Henry W.Halleck presented his Staff Officers.

Engineer journals
Several of the notebooks belonged to Emmor B. Cope, staff officer to General Gouverneur K. Warren. Cope was the engineer of the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission when the park was established in 1895.

(National Park Service)

"Since Gettysburg's museum exhibits cover all the years of the Civil War, these artifacts will be invaluable in helping us tell the full story of the war, as well as provide unpublished resource materials that will benefit all those who study Gettysburg and the Civil War." said Bob Kirby, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.

Craig Bashein, in announcing the gift, stated that "the Gettysburg National Military Park has done a tremendous job of safeguarding and preserving many of our nation's most treasured artifacts surrounding the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. These newly donated artifacts and materials will offer the American people further opportunity to study and appreciate this important event in our history. As we celebrate the Battle of Gettysburg's 150th Anniversary, I am hopeful this gift will also encourage others to donate their historic and treasured pieces from the Civil War to the Gettysburg National Military Park for the benefit of future generations.

Several objects from General Webb's Collection that were donated by Bashein will be displayed in the Treasures of the Civil War exhibit, opening June 16, 2013, sponsored by the Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park.

Joanne Hanley, president of the Gettysburg Foundation said "I am thrilled that the park has received this tremendous collection from Mr. Bashein. His donation also helps the Foundation in its campaign to inspire others to leave a legacy for the 150th anniversary of the battle ofGettysburg and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address."

The objects are now in the process of being accessioned into the collection of Gettysburg NMP and will not become available to researchers until later this year.

Bashein's gift was secured with the help of The Union Drummer Boy, a Civil War artifacts dealer located in Gettysburg.

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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