199
199

PROPERTY FROM THE DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM LAWRENCE SHALLENBERGER

Rare and Historic Printed Silk American Flag, carried into the Historic Battle of Shiloh by William Lawrence Shallenberger, Company D, 55th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, circa 1862
Estimate
20,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT
199

PROPERTY FROM THE DESCENDANTS OF WILLIAM LAWRENCE SHALLENBERGER

Rare and Historic Printed Silk American Flag, carried into the Historic Battle of Shiloh by William Lawrence Shallenberger, Company D, 55th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, circa 1862
Estimate
20,00040,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Porcelain, Prints and Carpets

|
New York

Rare and Historic Printed Silk American Flag, carried into the Historic Battle of Shiloh by William Lawrence Shallenberger, Company D, 55th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, circa 1862

The silk flag with printed 34 stars and stripes in the canton; arranged in concentric circles; the edges hand-sewn; rent with bullet holes and blood-stains.

Together with a Rare Sixth-Plate Tintype of William Lawrence Shallenberger (September 1, 1830-April 6, 1862) in uniform with a Colt Model 1851 US Navy revolver in his belt. 2 pieces.


16 5/8 in. by 27 1/4 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Descendants of William Lawrence Shallenberger.

Catalogue Note

Shallenberger served in the Company D of the Illinois 55th Volunteer Infantry. He was the flag bearer in the regiment and was killed the first day of battle, April 6, 1862. The flag was found in his pocket; draped over his body and returned to his family. William Lawrence Shallenberger was buried at Shiloh, Grave 3503. His son, Dr. W.E. Shallenberger, was born four days later.

150-years ago this April, the Battle of Shiloh was fought between two armies under the command of Union Generals Grant and Sherman, and Confederate Generals Johnston and Beauregard. Though an apparent Confederate victory the first day, the death of Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston, and the determined command of both Grant and Sherman turned the tide of battle, and the Union forces took the second day.

In this engagement, one regiment played a crucial role in the turning of that tide, and it is perhaps best left to the eye-witness account from Lt. Elijah C. Lawrence, an officer of the 55th Regiment, to put this action in to the historical record:

"By a resistance almost unparalleled, aided by a combination of favorable accidents ...                              [Col. David Stuart's 55th Illinois] "saved the [Union] left."

QUOTE: Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U.S. Massachusetts Commandery, Civil War Papers, Boston, 1900, II, p. 496

Consider the fact that the men of the 55th Illinois were raw recruits; that this was their first battle, and that the stand taken by such raw recruits that day at Shiloh contributed to the success of Grant's forces the following day – a success that in view of the battle's first day was not ensured.

With that in mind, it would thus be somewhat of an understatement indeed to describe the actions of the 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on April 6th, 1862 as heroic, especially considering the critical importance of their stand of April 6th , taking the brunt of the Confederate assault under Breckenridge in circumstances that were very nearly a route for the Union army. And yet perhaps in view of this,  heroic is the only word that justifiably describes the action of the regiment that day at Shiloh.

The 55th Illinois is credited by historians as saving the Union army's left flank, which had essentially saved Grant's entire army at this important engagement. That further this battle cemented Grant's reputation as a leader is without question, as such the actions of the men of the 55th Illinois on April 6th, 1862 can be seen as not only an important contribution to the Union leader's reputation, but an important step in the Union leader's eventual victory over the Lee's Confederate Army on April 9th, 1865 – almost three years to the day later. 

William Lawrence Shallenberger enlisted on August 19th, 1861, and transferred to Co. D of the 55th Illinois Regiment on October 31st, 1861 under the command of Col. David Stuart.  The regiment's first trial by fire was Shiloh, a battle in which Union forces saw 1700 killed  and over 8000 wounded – of the Union's loses that day, the 55th Illinois Regiment alone accounted for 51 killed and 197 wounded.

William Lawrence Shallenberger who was the company's flag-bearer died the first day of the battle from a wound to the chest, and this personal flag which he carried in his pocket was used to cover his body, and was later returned to his family. His death occurred four days before his son William E. Shallenberger was born.

William Lawrence Shallenberger is buried at Shiloh.

Considered to be the first amongst the many major titanic struggles that tell the greater history of the American Civil War, for William Lawrence Shallenberger- a common American soldier- the battlefield of Shiloh tells his story, that of ultimate sacrifice.

April 6, 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, and perhaps no more personal and poignant a memento of Shiloh could be imagined than a blood-soaked, battle-damaged American Flag carried by such a soldier as one who died defending the country this flag represents and honored it by staining our flag with his gallant blood.

Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Porcelain, Prints and Carpets

|
New York