At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have a Model 1885 Cavalry Officer’s great coat with cape. It’s in remarkable condition. It was loaned to us in 1939 by General Glines. It was used by the Rhode Island State Cavalry Guard.
[FEATURED EXHIBIT] Smith & Wesson Victory Model 10 Revolver
This Smith & Wesson Victory Model 10 revolver was recently donated to the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. The Varnum Memorial Armory’s revolver is a .38 Smith & Wesson. More research is forthcoming.
The Smith and Wesson Model 10, produced during World War II, had a “V” for Victory prefix in the serial number. Smith and Wesson produced over 571,000 in caliber .38/200 for British Commonwealth countries and 352,000 for the U.S. Army and Navy, in .38 Special and .38 S&W.
[FEATURED EXHIBIT] Thomas Ives’ U.S. Civil War Ship Flags
Our Varnum Memorial Armory Curator, Patrick Donovan, was reading a first-hand account of the 4th Rhode Island Volunteers at the Battle of New Bern in the U.S. Civil War, and came across the names of the ship captains who made up the naval force accompanying the expeditionary force. He faintly recognized one of the names: Thomas P. Ives. Back at the Varnum Armory Museum, he went through the stacks of archival boxes to find one labeled: “Ives flags, Civil War”.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Thomas Ives was one of the wealthiest people in the country at that time and was, apparently, very patriotic. When the U.S. Civil War broke out, he donated his private yacht, Hope, into Federal service as a U.S. Revenue Cutter (predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard). He commanded his now well-armed boat in the Mid Atlantic area and fought to enforce the blockade. Later, he commanded the USS Picket and participated in Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition, which aimed to shut down important Confederate ports.
On March 14th, Captain Ives participated in the operations that resulted in the capture of the important coastal city of New Bern. He would go on to fight Rebel blockade runners and Rebel shore batteries putting his life at great risk. In one fight, his ship was destroyed and sunk, yet he survived to fight another day.
The signal flags pictured here, as well as the 30-star (1848) Union Jack flew aboard his yacht, Hope, during the U.S. Civil War in 1861.
[FEATURED EXHIBIT] U.S. Civil War canteen carried by Dan Sullivan (2nd Rhode Island Volunteers)
Another wonderful addition to the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum: a canteen carried by a Daniel Sullivan of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers from 1862 to 1864 during the American Civil War.
Dan Sullivan of Providence (and later Pawtucket), Rhode Island, enlisted on August 21,1862 at North Providence as a Private in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers to serve his country. He was transferred out on May 1, 1864, before transferring into the Veteran Reserve Corps on May 21, where he served until the end of the war. The Veteran Reserve Corps was for soldiers too ill or wounded to serve on the front lines, but who still had a desire and some physical ability to serve.
Sullivan likely carried this canteen throughout his service. The canteen, cover, and strap show clear evidence of use in the field. The cover is faintly painted with “DS” in red, white, and blue paint. The cork stopper chain is also painted as is the exposed part of the canteen. This was possibly done post War for display at the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veteran post. The period brass tag marked “Daniel Sullivan of Pawtucket RI” came along with the canteen when acquired.
The 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers was a battle-hardened unit seeing action at virtually every major battle fought in the Eastern theater by the Union Army of the Potomac. Major battles that the 2nd RI participated in during Dan’s service include Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.
To think that this canteen was present at these pivotal and epic events in American history is awe inspiring. Thanks to Brendan Synnamon and the Union Drummer Boy for helping us acquire this fantastic piece.
[FEATURED EXHIBIT] Civil War Guidon Flag gets Professional Framing
We took the Civil War-era 1st Rhode Island Cavalry guidon flag to Crestar Picture Framing today for a professional display. In these images, Tony Scelsa takes precise measurements for the new frame.
We plan to mount a plexiglass sheet with museum-quality ultra-violet protection over the flag’s existing archival-safe matting and frame. The treated plexiglass will protect the flag from light damage and will keep curious fingers and dust off of the cloth. The display’s backside is open to the unbleached linen backing to allow the flag to breathe.
While the custom framing is ordered and built, the flag will be professionally cleaned previous to display in the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. To book a tour of the Armory’s military history collection, just click here.