Saturday, May 17, 2014

A war relic comes home to New Hampshire

George S. Gove, who made lieutenant in October 1863, apparently carried his company's medical supplies.
George S. Gove of Raymond, N.H., was a model soldier. He plays a supporting role in both My Brave Boys and Our War, and I’ve also written about his experience in battle on this blog.

Gove joined the 5th New Hampshire Volunteers as a 20-year-old sergeant in 1861 and was wounded three times, at Fair Oaks, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. His listing in Ayling’s Register mentions only the Fair Oaks wound, but perhaps that is because all three wounds were in the same shoulder.

George S. Gove
We know about all three wounds because Gove described them in detail in his letters home. His wartime letters are now part of the Parsons family papers in the archives at the University of New Hampshire.

I bring up Gove again because the trunk in which he carried his gear late in the war has just sold at auction. It was part of the private collection of a couple from Wenham, Mass. M. Prudence Fleck and her late husband, Peter F. Frazier, used to show their extensive collection to friends in their home museum.

The auction estimate for the trunk was $600 to $800, but it sold for more than three times that. It wound up in the good hands of Greg Henderson, a 5th New Hampshire re-enactor whom I have known for many years. Greg is pleased to have it, of course, and like its previous owners, would like to figure out a way for New Hampshire people to see it and thereby learn more about Gove and the 5th.

He and I emailed about this. Given what I know about Civil War relics in New Hampshire, my pipe dream for years has been a modern, interactive Civil War museum in Concord. I can’t say this is a practical idea, given the attendance problems most museums are facing. But done right, it would be a great way to preserve and display a part of the past that has special appeal to Americans. As it stands now, the material is spread to the four winds.

Gove’s trunk is made of leather-covered wood. It is 2 feet long, 14 inches wide and 10½ inches tall. Another slightly smaller wooden trunk from the same private collection was stenciled “HOSPITAL STORES/5TH Regt. N.H.V.”

Greg sent along the snapshots of the trunk included here.

Thanks for those, Greg, and thanks for bringing the trunk back home.  

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