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Following in the shoes of another gallant & daring cavalryman George Armstrong Custer; Col. Charles Dodge was promoted Brigadier General November 29, 1862 after just over a year in service. This made Dodge the youngest full Brigadier General in U.S. Army history. Recommendations for his promotion included many prominent citizens including Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. He, by far, would always be the youngest American Cavalry General as Custer would not become General until he was 23. Only one general during the Civil War would be appointed at a younger age, Uriah G Pennypacker in 1865, and his appointment was a novelty as he was breveted on the field January 15, 1865 as he was expected to die! He survived and was given a full brigadier commission April 28, 1865 after Lee’s surrender, though it was retroactive to February 1865.

Dodge’s regulation double-breasted general’s frock coat retains all of its original buttons and original straps. This well-tailored frock has velvet collar and cuffs, matching velvet backgrounds on Brig. General straps; gold buff general’s sash and saber belt. An impressive addition is his 30” tall cavalry boots with spurs still attached.

Gen. Dodge rubbed his older West Point graduated superiors the wrong way; they did not like the way Dodge reconnoitered at will along the southern Virginia coast and he resigned in June 1863 having a subordinate officer promoted over him to Major General. Dodge had been earlier wounded during the battle of Suffolk. A military record written by Dodge should be read, (linked online) and his original manuscript accompanies this archive along with several wartime letters and covers. His appointment to Colonel, signed by New York Governor, also accompanies. Dodge returned to New York City and was in charge of troops quelling the New York City draft riots in 1864.



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General Dodge is shown wearing this exact sword in wartime photography. The lg. inscribed brass commemorative plaque on scabbard reads: “This sword was carried by / Brigadier General Charles C Dodge / during the Civil War 1861-63 / it was obtained by him in England & had been carried / in the charge of the 600”. This sword along w/ the uniform & archive sold in previous lot all originally came from estate sale in upstate New York in 1970s. Dodge w/ his social connections through his parents & family no doubt played a role in his having a sword that was carried in the famous “Charge of the Light Brigade” at Balaclava in 1854. Alfred Tennyson’s poem written same year made this heroic, but failed charge known to everyone: “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward, all in the Valley of death rode the 600….” young Dodge in England just prior to the war no doubt was enamored w/ carrying a sword from the most famous cavalry charge in history to that point, I’m sure he knew Tennyson’s poem by heart as so many schoolchildren would have learned & recited.

This sword is 1821 pattern heavy cavalry officer’s saber, there is also a light version which is thought to of been carried by most of the enlisted troops. One of the most reproduced paintings of the charge shows Lord Cardigan leading holding the same pattern a loft. This sword was retailed by & marked “HAWKES & Co / London / Manufacturers / To the QUEEN”. The sword is most likely manufactured by Wilkinson for Hawkes, though it is not serial numbered, the etched panels w/ “VR” royal ciphers & crowns appear to be Wilkinson’s work. This pattern was popular in America, Tiffany in New York copied it for their best custom sabers. English swords were often thought superior to American, & many wealthy prominent Americans carried English swords often purchased directly from Wilkinson or other British makers.