Family-Owned Jewelry Store & Antique Art Gallery
As the nation reflects on the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War this month, a piece of American history that recalls that tumultuous time has made its way to Rochester and the Midwest.
Paul Haig, owner of Haig’s of Rochester Fine Jewelry in Rochester, Michigan, will debut a new acquisition – a silver plated cup presented to the Seventh New York Regiment by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861 – for the first time in the Midwest at the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair in Chicago, April 29-May 2.
The engraved and decorative cup features patterns of leaves, flowers, scrolls and cherubs. The underside of the lid is inscribed as follows:
“Presented by Abraham Lincoln President of the United States of America to the Seventh Regiment as a mark of admiration and respect of their talent displayed in the concert given on the lawn of the White House 1861”
“The Lincoln cup is a beautiful piece of American history,” said Haig. “It has been researched and vetted as to its authenticity and provenance. It was recently shown at the Winter Antiques Show at the Armory in New York – the Seventh Regiment’s armory. We can’t wait to debut it at one of the Midwest’s top antique shows later this month.”
According to published accounts, including one on the web site mrlincolnswhitehouse.org, the Seventh New York Regiment band performed for Lincoln, his family and friends on the south lawn of the White House on April 27, 1861.
In Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, editors Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger cite a diary entry from John Hay, the assistant private secretary to Lincoln, about that day:
“The Seventh Regiment band played gloriously on the shaven lawn at the South front of the Executive Mansion. The scene was very beautiful. Through the luxuriant grounds the gaily dressed crowd idly strolled, soldiers loafed in the promenades, the martial music filled the sweet air with vague suggestions of heroism . . . “
The Seventh New York Regiment was brought to D.C. to protect the White House and surrounding area after Confederate forces secured Fort Sumter, a federal fort in Charleston Harbor, in April 1861.
One of the most famous men associated with the Seventh Regiment was Robert Gould Shaw, who joined the regiment the same month it organized – April 1861. Born in Boston to a prominent abolitionist family, Shaw was later put in command of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first all-black regiments organized during the war. His experiences as commander of the 54th were retold in the 1989 film Glory in which Matthew Broderick portrayed Shaw.
According to Russell Duncan in Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Robert Gould Shaw, “Shaw had joined the Seventh Regiment, New York National Guard, shortly after the election of Lincoln. The Seventh organized on April 17, 1861, with 991 men, drilled in the armory, and marched down Broadway two days later to ovations from the largest crowd ever assembled until that time.”
The Seventh Regiment lives on as the 53rd Army Liaison Team of the New York Army National Guard. They are stationed at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, once used by the Seventh Regiment.