Battle of Gettysburg Cannon, Drum Part of On-Site Dancy-Polk House Inn Auction
This six-pound cannon used by Union soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, with letters of documentation, plus other Civil War items, will be sold alongside antiques from the historic Dancy-Polk House Inn in an on-site auction slated for Saturday, Oct. 12.
This Civil War drum was used in 1863 to lead Confederate troops into the battlefield at Gettysburg. Additional Civil War-era lots will include a swords, an antique print of Gen. Robert E. Lee, firearms, buckles, breast plates and other artifacts.
DECATUR, Ala. – A battlefield cannon and drum from the Battle of Gettysburg, plus other Civil War items, will be sold alongside antiques from the historic Dancy-Polk House Inn in an on-site auction slated for Saturday, Oct. 12, starting at 9 a.m. (CST).
The Dancy-Polk House Inn, constructed in 1829, is one of only four buildings in Decatur to survive the Civil War. Today it is owned by Jan Garber, who has appointed it with wonderful furnishings and antiques, many from the period. All of these will be sold, as will the house itself (at 12 noon). Southern Homes & Land Realty is the selling agent.
The contents of the Dancy-Polk House Inn, plus other consignments, will be sold jointly by Stevens Auction Company (of Aberdeen, Miss.) and Empire Auction Gallery (of Athens, Ala.). Offered will be large Victorian mirrors, period lighting, Persian rugs, grandfather clocks, porcelains, rare furniture pieces, early American primitives and American Brilliant Cut Glass.
The historic Dancy-Polk House Inn, built in 1829 in Decatur, Ala., will be sold at 12 noon on Saturday, Oct. 12. The structure was used as a headquarters for the Union Army when Fort Decatur was under siege by confederate Gen. Hood’s four-day attack in 1864.
The Civil War items are from the private collection of an avid Civil War enthusiast, gathered over 50 years. The cannon—one of three 6-pounder models used by the Union Army at the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg—comes with letters of documentation. It was last fired in 1946. The drum was used to lead Confederate troops into the historic battle.
Additional Civil War-era lots will include a Union officer’s sword with etched blade, stamped “COS” on the blade; an officer’s sword with scabbard, circa 1880; a presentation sword with etched blade (to Thomas W. Cloyd); an antique print of Gen. Robert E. Lee in a walnut frame, published by the John A. Lowell Bank Note Co. (Boston, 1906), 30 inches by 24 inches; guns; buckles; breast plates and other artifacts.
Some of the many period furnishings will include a large and beautiful walnut Victorian hall tree with white marble top, heavily carved and with a deer’s head on top; a circa-1840 primitive double mammy’s bench with original stenciling; and a majestic rococo mahogany rosewood half tester plantation bed from around1850 in great condition, 10 feet 4 inches tall.
Furniture by the renowned 19th-century American furniture makers J. & J.W. Meeks will include a five-piece rosewood laminated rococo parlor suite in the Stanton Hall pattern with blue floral upholstery, with a sofa, two arm chairs and two side chairs (circa 1850); and a rosewood pierce carved oval center table, also in the Meeks Stanton Hall pattern and executed about 1855.
Other furniture pieces will feature a rosewood rococo laminated sofa, similar to one in the Arnot Art Museum and attributed to Charles Boudoine; a flame mahogany Empire Gothic breakfront with four wine drawers, 9 feet, 1 inch tall, circa 1840; a period Empire breakfront with original crest and rippled molding, 8 feet, 6 inches tall; and a circa 1860 walnut Victorian étagère.
Also sold will be a mahogany Steinway parlor piano with stool in excellent condition, circa 1930; a large antique French bronze and marble clock with a large bronze cup on top; a three-piece Victorian clock set; a rococo gold leaf over-the-mantle mirror in great condition, circa 1860; a set of 12 mahogany Chippendale chairs (one arm, 11 sides); and other items. In all, more than 600 lots will come up for hid Oct. 12.
The Dancy-Polk House Inn is listed on the Alabama and National Register of Historic Places. It was built by Col. Frances Dancy, after he settled there from southern Virginia. The home was later passed down to his granddaughter, Lavinia, who married Capt. Thomas G. Polk. The structure was used as a headquarters for the Union Army when Decatur was under siege.
This large antique French bronze and marble clock with large bronze cup on top is among the some 600 lots to be had in the sale.
During the Civil War, Decatur was a strategic location for the South because it was there that the Memphis and Charleston railroads crossed the Tennessee River. Union General William T. Sherman’s famous “march to the sea” was driving deep into Georgia in 1864, but his lifeline ran back to Nashville, where a Union depot supplied food, ammunition and supplies to his men.
Confederate General John Bell Hood felt a strike at Sherman’s supply lines would force the federals into retreat. Hood believed a quick victory in Nashville could reverse the course of the war for the Confederacy, but to achieve that he would have to cross the Tennessee River. Decatur was the attempted point of that crossing, with a railroad and national road big pluses.
After being wrapped in a fierce four-day battle involving mounted troops, gunboats and scores of infantrymen, Hood was forced to abandon the shallow waters at Decatur and regroup westward to cross the river at Florence, Ala. But because the river was overflowing there, it resulted in a three-week delay on the advance, giving Union troops time to prepare for the rebels.
It was U.S. Gen. Dodge, not Sherman, who had captured and fortified Decatur earlier on, burning all but four buildings to house officers. One was the Dancy-Polk House, in the center of Fort Decatur. The home survived Gen. Hood’s four-day attack in 1864 and various other ravages of war and was maintained as a boarding house by the Polks and successive owners after the war.
Today, the Dancy-Polk House Inn retains its original antebellum splendor, with a roster of past visitors that includes the Confederate General “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler, as well as Union Generals Ely Lilly, James Garfield (who went on to become a U.S. President), Turchin, Dodge, Doolittle and the notorious outlaw Frank James, who boarded at the residence prior to his surrender.
There will be no Internet bidding for this auction, but phone and absentee bids will be accepted. Previews will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 1 to 6 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information about this auction, call 662.369.2200, e-mail to email@example.com or visit the Stevens Auction Company website.
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