Premier Firearms Auction
May 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2023
Fine & Extremely Rare, Custom Painted Presentation Civil War Drum Used by Drummer Boy and Eventual Principal Musician Richard Morse (Various Spellings of Morse in Accompanying Records, With MORSS Spelling on Tombstone) 9th Vermont.
14” x 17” Beautiful regulation Civil War snare drum painted with RARE, Vermont State seal and two infantry blue ribbons above & below ”R.F. MORSS” & 9TH VERMONT VOL”. Richard Morse enlisted as drummer, Co. H, 9th VT, June 26, 1862 at 16 years old and was paid a $25 bounty. His enrollment lists his age as 19, but his tombstone shows he was 16. Ordered immediately to Washington D.C. in 1862, Morse was soon captured with his entire regiment, surrendering to Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry in September, 1862. After being paroled and exchanged in early 1863, the 9th was sent to New Berne where the unit saw action at the defense of Newport Barracks by detachments of Confederate forces under Confederate General Pickett. They later saw action at Chapin’s Farm, Fair Oaks, final assault on Petersburg and action around Richmond, being among the troops occupying the Confederate Capitol. Morse’s enlistment ended while at Richmond, VA, but he continued in service till December 1, 1865. Drum has original A. W. White, Boston maker’s label inside, and most curiously a fine silver plaque engraved “D C HALL / MANUFACTURER / BOSTON”. Hall must have embellished the drum with plaque and painted design in December of 1864 when Morse was promoted to sergeant and principal musician of his unit. This drum most likely presented to Morse by his fellow soldiers at his promotion or earlier while drumming at Newport Barracks where posted most of 1864.
There are very few personalized drums like this surviving, especially outside institutional collections. Morse was likely the youngest principal musician to serve in the service and must have been one hell of a drummer.
PROVENANCE: John Gibson collection.