inv # 01-17444 


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This is a first time this grouping has ever been offered; it has been part of the collection displayed at Hickory Hill Plantation since being purchased from direct family descent w/ short stay at Museum of the American Civil War in Richmond 2011-2012.

The General’s German silver lion pommel Officer’s sword is likely one of a kind. The quillback blade is elaborately etched w/ unknown coat of arms and panoplies of arms. Sword is housed in its original German Silver scabbard which has numerous sm. cuts apparently from sword play.

The General’s Colt Navy Revolver is SN# 58148, mfg. 1856 while Clingman was a Member of Congress. This Colt was a military purchased arm and possibly Clingman obtained it as he was on numerous congressional committees, if not at beginning of War.

Brigadier General Thomas Lanier Clingman was born in Huntsville, NC, July 27, 1812. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1832 w/ high honors, after which he studied law, and then settled in the mountains of Asheville, NC. Clingman had a long career in politics prior to war serving in the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate. He obtained nicknames while in Washington such as “Prince of Politicians” & “Fire Eater from the Carolina Mountains”. When the war began Clingman was forced out of the Senate as he would not resign and wanted to continue fighting in Congress for Southern rights. He instead was elected Colonel of the 25th NC Infantry on Aug. 13, 1861. Thomas Lanier Clingman was promoted to Brigadier General on May 17, 1862 despite a lack of formal military training and was given command of the 54th & 55th NC Infantry.

On Nov. 11, 1862, Brigadier General Clingman was named commander of a four regiment brigade comprised of the 8th, 31st, 51st & 61st NC Infantry in North Carolina. The demands on Lee’s Army as a result of Grant’s Overland Campaign inexorably drew the Brigade to VA and the front. Clingman and a portion of his men were the first troops to face Butler’s drive on Petersburg, resulting in the Bermuda Hundred “bottleneck”. Clingman’s Brigade was in the thickest of the fights for the next one hundred days, finally getting a chance to show how his NC Brigade had matured as a fighting force, fighting at Drewry’s Bluff, Cold Harbor, Ware Bottom Church, Petersburg June 16-18 and at the Crater. At Cold Harbor, though his entire staff was killed or wounded Clingman stood at the forefront and rallied his men while armed with only a fence rail and drove back Grant’s legions.

On Aug. 19 General Clingman was severely wounded in the leg during the fighting at Globe Tavern but continues leading his command till the last battles in North Carolina with Joseph E. Johnston. Clingman’s papers are housed in the Southern Historical Collection at University of NC. General Clingman’s sword and revolver were exhibited at the American Civil War Center in Richmond, VA 2011-2012.

Status: Antique