Confederate Staes Army Honorable Discharge - Civil War
Very interesting Honorable Discharge from the Army of the Confederate States. Condition is rough but I doubt many of these have survived, much less even given out as the Confederacy was never in a good position to just let trained soldiers walk away. The ink is very faded but I know "document guys" do have ways of bringing old, faded ink back to life. It is possible to make out a lot of the details, though. This certificate was given to William H Dukes, a private of Captain Francis M (?) Company of the Sixteenth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers. Enlisted February 24 1862 to serve "for the war". Following is probably an explanation of why he was discharged but the combination of light ink and old fashioned writing puts it beyond my grasp. Document goes on to state that Dukes was born in Dorchester County, Maryland. He was a farmer and the document gives some personal details. I can't tell if age is twenty one or thirty one. Despite signing "for the war", the discharge is dated 1862 so I would assume he was either wounded or too sick to serve, although, as he was a farmer perhaps he was released to pursue that occupation as food was certainly a war necessity for the South. The document would certainly have been destroyed if it had not been mounted on a scarp of wallpaper. It is folded into eights so, in one of those assumptions that brings an item like this some personality, it would seem that Mr. Dukes carried this paper in his pocket to prove to anyone who might challenge him that he had served honorably. If that were true perhaps the staining down the middle is Mr. Dukes sweat which further leads one to wonder if, using this document, it would be possible to clone a Confederate Jurassic Park style? What a fun hobby! Included in this lot is a perfect condition Southern Cross of Honor and a photograph both of which are supposed to be the personal effects of Mr. Dukes. Obviously there is no way to verify the photograph but it is from a Maryland studio and Mr. Dukes was born in Maryland and very well may have lived there despite enlisting in a Virginia regiment. Sometimes it just wasn't easy to find a Maryland unit to muster into. The medal, which can not be positively linked to Mr. Dukes, is a beautiful example. The 16th Virginia fought in numerous conflicts from the Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbor, was involved in the Petersburg siege and the Appomattox Campaign. Reported casualties include: 91 casualties at Malvern Hill, 154 at Second Manassas, 5 in the Maryland Campaign, 18 at Chancellorsville and "about 13" at Gettysburg. It surrendered with 10 officers and 114 men.