Our preservation production team is putting the finishing touches on a custom dress form for a rare New Jersey American Civil War uniform. This dress form shows the infantryman in motion and highlights a wound from being shot through the thigh at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.
This American Revolutionary War commission document at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum was presented to James Mitchell Varnum of East Greenwich, RI (Varnum House Museum) on May 10, 1779, naming him Major General of all Rhode Island Militia forces opposing the Crown troops of Britain. It is now properly framed and on display for the first time thanks to the generous donations made by our Facebook followers. Thank you!
At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have the wool undershirt worn by East Greenwich-native Sergeant George Byron Bennett (of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry) in the last year of the American Civil War. It’s in amazing condition, and wear and staining reveals a lot about the soldier, his habits, and his day-to-day life.
Visible on the shirt are sweat, dirt, and urine stains. You can see that the shirt was worn tucked in (and that he wiped his hands on his stomach…). The urine stains appear at the bottom-center where it would be tucked in over his crotch.
At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have the .44-caliber New Model Army revolver that was carried by Sergeant George Byron Bennett (of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry) in the last year or two of the American Civil War. It is marked with his initials.
The pistol was made by Eliphalet Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY, in 1863 or early 1864. Over 230,000 were made with many being purchased for military use (as the Colt M1860 revolver became hard to get due to massive fire at their factory in Hartford, CT). Cavalrymen were heavily armed, so Bennett also would have carried a sword and a breech-loading carbine.
Now in the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum collection, this is classic four-pull “spyglass” used by East Greenwich-native Sergeant George Byron Bennett (of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry) during the American Civil War. A primary role of the Cavalry was scouting and reconnaissance, where a telescope like this would be very useful.