Premier Firearms Auction
May 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2023
UNIFORM, HAT & BELT OF SERGEANT AUGUSTUS BRADBURY OF THE 7TH BATTERY OF THE 1ST MAINE MOUNTED LIGHT ARTILLERY.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire an identified grouping belonging to a single individual and identified with a period ink stencil in the sleeve of the coat. The uniform & its accessories were featured in the Time Life book “Echoes of Glory – The Union.” This fabulous group was worn by Fairfield, Maine native, Augustus Bradbury during his service in the rebellion and includes his Sergeant’s shell jacket and his high-grade artillery NCO kepi. His M1851 sword belt, complete with straps and over the shoulder sling, is also included in the group. Lastly, there is a CDV and a tintype image of Bradbury and an early, one page concise history of Sergeant Bradbury’s service during the war that complete this outstanding offering.
Sergeant Augustus Bradbury answered President Lincoln’s first call for troops in 1861. However, because the state quota has already been filled, he was immediately mustered out of service. In September 1861, he went to Baltimore as an aide to Lt. Col. Selden Connor, where they joined the 7th Maine Regiment. Seldon Connor was also a native of Fairfield, Maine, became a Brigadier General during the war and subsequently elected the 35th Governor of Maine in 1876. Private Bradbury took care of the colonel’s horses, tent & baggage for about 18 months during which time he saw action at Yorktown, Williamsburg, Mechanicsville, Richmond, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp & Antietam. In December 1863, he reenlisted as a Sergeant in the 7th Battery of the 1st Maine Mounted Light Artillery. He then saw action at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor & the Siege of Petersburg. It was noted in reports that on July 30, 1864, his gun was fired 75 times in five hours, a staggering one shot every four minutes for the entire five hours. Finally, Sergeant Bradbury was present in Appomattox during the surrender of General Lee.
The shell jacket is decidedly not of Federal regulation style but has quaint details typical of state issued uniforms. The jacket is high grade, dark blue wool with 12 cuff size, eagle “A” buttons down the front. The button hole edge and the base of the jacket are trimmed in red. There are also two long red stripes extending from the shoulder seam to the base of the jacket on the back. The collar is outlined in the same red trim and there is one red 4″ double sided trim stripe on the collar whereas Federal examples have two stripes. The stripe is terminated with matching eagle “A” cuff buttons. There is a high peaked, decorative chevron at the cuff with two cuff size, eagle “A” buttons on each cuff. Midway down each arm is a Sergeant’s stripe made of the same red trim. Instead of rear pillows, as seen on federal jackets, this example has two 3 3/4″ red trimmed tabs near the front of the jacket that are secured with two eagle “A” cuff buttons. These tabs aid in supporting the weight of the saber belt and equipment. The lining is quilted black polished cotton with an interior pocket at the left breast. The sleeves are lined in heavy muslin with the right upper sleeve clearly stenciled “A. BRADBURY”. The inside of the collar is lined in velvet attesting to the very high quality of this custom made Sergeant’s shell jacket.
The kepi is a high grade, dark midnight blue wool with a false embroidered, 1 1/2″ crossed cannon at the front. The visor is bound leather. The leather chinstrap has a single buckle and terminates in two small brass enlisted eagle buttons. The sweatband is maroon finished leather and the lining is a dull red cotton.
The saber belt is also of exceptional quality, with an M1851 saber belt plate featuring an eagle in glory surrounded by an applied silver acanthus leaf wreath. The entire belt has stitched highlights at the edges. The over the shoulder strap is complete, as are the two saber hangers with clips at the base.
This is a truly outstanding set of high quality, private purchase items that were likely purchased together in late 1863 and were worn through the end of the Civil War. All items exhibit exceptional quality and workmanship in all respects.
The CDV image depicts Bradbury, during his first enlistment, as a Private standing with his kepi on a table beside him. The image is backmarked, “STARBIRD, Photographer, (A few doors north of Stanley House.) AUGUSTA, ME”. The 6th plate tintype shows Bradbury in a non-regulation, four button sack coat, likely during his first enlistment. The one page document containing Bradbury’s Civil War service appears to be early and was likely written shortly after his death in 1919 with a dip pen.
UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: a small pamphlet printed in Bangor, Maine, titled “Roster of the 7th Maine Battery”. A few modern photographs of the Bradley CDV and the uniform. Copies of muster reports from the National Archives and various other papers downloaded from the internet pertaining to Sergeant Bradbury and his service during the Civil War.
PROVENANCE: the Collection of James Stamatelos to the Horse Soldier of Gettysburg to the Collection of Keith Rocco.