G.A.R. Canteen from 1895 Reunion in Louisville

Memento from the 1895 G.A.R. Reunion in Louisville

Tin with original polychrome painted stenciled decoration/inscription We Drank From The Same Canteen arched above a U.S. shield breasted spread winged eagle with E Pluribus Unum ribbon banner in beak, arrows & laurel branches in talons and straight-line inscription Louisville/1861- 1865 at bottom, with original cork stopper and two small rings at sides for hanging; 5″ diameter.


Cowan Auctions


tin with original polychrome stenciled decoration/inscription “We Drank From The Same Canteen” arched above a U.S. shield breasted spread winged eagle with ribbon banner in beak and arrows & laurel branches in talons and straight-line inscription below “Louisville/1861-1865”. Original cork stopper with wire ring top, 2 small holes at sides for hanging, 5″ diameter. Cowan’s


Louisvillian sculpture Ed Hamilton designs the ‘Spirit of Freedom’

The first national memorial to black Civil War veterans. Erected in 1998 in Washington, D.C.


Washington DC – Shaw – U Street Corridor: African-American Civil War Memorial

Spirit of Freedom, the African American Civil War Memorial, located at the eastern entrance of the U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro station at U Street and Vermont Avenue, NW, was dedicated on July 18, 1998. Designed by sculptor Ed Hamilton and architect Marc Doswell, under the commission of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the memorial honors the contributions of of black soldiers and sailors to the Union cause during the Civil War.

The memorial features a 9’1/2″ bronze sculpture with a front high-base relief of three infantry soldiers and a sailor, and a backside low relief of a family group as the soldier, a son, leaves for the war. The sculpture sits on a two foot tall, granite-clad base. Five surrounding granite
walls contain 166 burnished stainless steel plaques listing the names of 208,943 soldiers and sailors who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. The plaques are arranged by regiment. Included among the names are 7,000 white officers who served with the troops.

The memorial was initially proposed in a resolution by the Washington, D.C. City Council in 1991. In 1992, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton presented Resolution 320 to the House of Representatives, and it was signed into law four months later. A nonprofit organization, The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, was formed to build the monument. Much of the $2.6 million in funding came from from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as compensation for the disruption caused by subway construction. The land was donated by the U.S. National Park Service. The plaza was dedicated on Sept. 12, 1996. The monument was not completed at the time of its unveiling on July 18, 1998 because of construction delays. The complex was transferred to the National Park Service on October 27, 2004 and is managed by the National Mall and Memorial Parks of the NPS.

The greater U Street Historic District, roughly bounded by New Hampshire Avenue, Florida Avenue, 6th Street, R Street and 16th Street, in the Shaw neighborhood of northwestern Washington DC, is largely a Victorian-era neighborhood, made up of row houses constructed in response to the city’s high demand for housing following the Civil War and the growth of the federal government in the late 19th century. The area was predominately white and middle class until 1900, but as Washington became progressively more segregated, the U Street Corridor emerged as the city’s most important concentration of businesses and entertainment facilities owned and operated by blacks, becoming known as “Black Broadway” in its cultural heyday. The late 1960’s saw the neighborhood begin a fall into decline, marred by violence and drug tacking, that would last well into the revitalization and gentrification of the 1990’s.

Greater U Street Historic District National Register #98001557 (1998)

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker practiced medicine at Louisville female prison, won the Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army.

Places and dates:

  • Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861
  • Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861
  • Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickamauga, September 1863
  • Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864 – August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.
  • Battle of Atlanta, September 1864.

Entered service at: Louisville, Ky.

Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y.


Her Medal of Honor citation reads:

Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, “has rendered valuable service to the Government. and her efforts have been earnest and _____ in a variety of ways,” and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and

Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and

Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made:

It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.

Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865.


(Medal rescinded 1917 along with 910 others, restored by President Carter 10 June 1977.)

A. Sidney Smith, Union, Fifth Kentucky Infantry, “The Louisville Legion.”

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-38-16-amA. Sidney Smith, Union, Fifth Kentucky Infantry, “The Louisville Legion.” Promoted First Lieutenant after serving as Sergeant Major. A. Sidney Smith was born in Missouri. He enlisted on March 1, 1863 at Murfreesboro, TN as a Private. On April 3, 1863 he mustered into “I” Co. KY 5th Infantry. During the war he was promoted from private to sergeant, to 2nd Lt. on August 18, 1862, and 1st Lt. on March 1, 1863. He resigned on March 25, 1864. He subsequently served in the US Army from June 18, 1867 until Jan. 31, 1871.

eBay auction, January 2011

9th Plate Tintype of C. Miller, Co E, 107th U.S.C.T. (raised in Louisville)

An unmarked civilian tintype of a black soldier ostensibly C. Miller with his identification badge pinned to the pillow having period inscription that reads, C. Miller/Co. E./107/USCT.

The only C. Miller in the regiment was “Creed Miller” who served in Company C, enlisting at Lebanon, Ky., in July 1864. Creed Miller later died in service, date not stated. The

107th USCT was organized at Louisville during the summer of 1864 and was assigned to the 18th Corps, Army of the James in October. It transferred to the 25th Corps, Department of North Carolina and saw action during the expeditions against Fort Fisher and the capture of Wilmington. The 107th also participated in the Carolinas campaign and the occupation of Raleigh. The regiment did not muster out until November 1866.


Cowan’s Auction

Confederate spy serves time in Louisville military prison


10th Kentucky Cavalry (Partisan Rangers), with extensive documentation revealing a fantastic history. A small but interesting group comprised of Woolfolk’s identified Colt M1849 Pocket pistol and unmarked cdv with an important original letter dated March 3, 1899 attesting to George Woolfolk’s prior ownership and relating his unusual experience of having been tried and convicted of spying by a Union court marshal and sentenced to death by firing squad in 1863. Woolfolk would be pardoned by President Lincoln.

A number of partisan companies composed of western Kentucky men (from 14 different counties) were active as early as July 1862, notably at Newburgh, Indiana, but they were not formally organized as the 10th Kentucky Cavalry until August 13, 1862 at Nebo, Hopkins County, Kentucky. George Woolfolk (Union County) is listed as a private in Captain Clay Merriwether’s Company H. on one roster dating to August 1862 but is entirely absent from a slightly later roster from September. At muster-in there were apparently two companies designated as H. and the weaker one was consolidated. During the summer the various companies loosely affiliated with the 10th Kentucky Cavalry engaged in active skirmishing and shortly after entering Confederate service, captured the town of Clarksville, Tennessee from Federal forces on August 18th.

Despite the intention of the Colonel Adam R. Johnson (later brigadier general) to have his regiment serve as independent partisan rangers, the 10th Kentucky was co-opted by General

Bragg and ordered to report to Murfreesboro where it was assigned to John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry division. With Morgan, the regiment participated in the Christmas raid into Kentucky and the capture of Mt. Sterling. The 10th Kentucky accompanied Morgan on his famous July 1863 raid into Indiana and Ohio and was captured at Buffington Island on July 19th. Over two hundred enlisted prisoners from the regiment were later sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago (including Wes Cowan’s great-great grandfather, Sergt. Samuel B. Withers of Union County) and the command never reformed.

George Woolfolk did not participate in Morgan’s Raid having previously been captured behind the lines in Lyon County, Kentucky on April 18, 1863 and held at Louisville Military Prison, later transferring to Camp Chase in Ohio. Woolfolk was charged as a guerilla, “Being secretly within the lines of the United States forces, at the same time belonging to the so-called Confederate Army” in violation of General Order No. 38. The specification presumed that he [was] by his presence, able to obtain information and communicate the same to the enemy. In practical terms Woolfolk was charged with being a spy. The Military Commission convened at Henderson, Kentucky on June 10, 1863, heard testimony, and found him “guilty” of both charge and specification. On June 15 he was sentenced to be shot unto death, as such a time and place as the Commanding General may direct…

In examining the transcripts of the proceedings it is clear that George Woolfolk was a Confederate Army deserter who was attempting to return to his home when captured. The transcript also states that when taken into custody he had a revolver, and was in possession of a horse that “belonged to some Iowa Cavalry.”Woolfolk freely admitted to being a Confederate soldier but said that he “had been on the dodge since our troops came to Madisonville, Kentucky” (August 25, 1862) having received a slight wound there. Two witnesses who knew Woolfolk testified that as early as September 1861 they had seen the accused in the company of armed Rebels engaging in acts of intimidation and hostility, suggesting banditry as a motive.

Source of text and image: Cowan’s Auction

Steamboat ‘Jacob Strader’ – U.S. mail packet, also used to ferry soldiers around Louisville

Jacob Strader, Esq. (1795-1860) was a steamboat owner, banker (Cist names him as President and solicitor of the Commercial Bank in 1851), lawyer and President of the Little Miami Railroad. He sat on the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Medical College.

The steamboat “Jacob Strader,” was launched in Cincinnati in 1853 and named for this prominent citizen. Built for the U.S. Mail Line, the sidewheeler ran a regular Cincinnati to Louisville packet route. During the Civil War, she carried supplies to Union troops for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, as well as carrying wounded and sick soldiers.