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Lot 5    

Extra Fancy Colonel's Frock Coat Belonging to Col.Charles W. Roberts, 2nd ME.
4/30/2014 - Firearms and Militaria: Live Salesroom Auction
Navy blue wool seven-button double-breasted colonel of infantry frock coat.  Buttons are marked "Tiffany & Co."  Shoulder straps are navy velvet cloth with fancy double gold bullion border and silver bullion eagle highlighted with red stitching for eye and in the beak. Three-button serviceable cuffs. Skirt is 19.5" to rough edge and bell-shaped elbows are 9" wide. Back of coat has three seams that lead to center vent. Vent has two buttons at top and in middle of vent. Coat has black lining with close quilted pattern in chest and underarms.  Lining in sleeves are white.  Piped inside left breast pocket. A top end Civil War officer's frock coat worn by Colonel Charles W Roberts, 2nd ME . Vol. Inf. 

The coat belonging to Col. Roberts and other artifacts now missing were owned by a Mr. John Vose of South Portand, ME who sold the frock coat  to a Mr. Douglas Morr of Edwardsville, IL in June 1970.  A series of five letters dating November 1969 to June 1970 attest to the particulars of the transaction.  Mrs. Vose also forwarded to Mr. Morr a booklet entitled Memorial to the Second Maine Regiment of Volunteers published by the Mount Hope Cemetery Corporation in 1968 where Roberts is buried.  Also, an original copy of Col. Roberts original MOLLUS obituary from 1898 is included.  At some later date well known dealer, Dave Taylor, acquired the frock coat and sold it to the current owner, the consignor.

This extraordinary frock coat is a classic example of an officer who could afford the best that money could buy. Made by a New York tailor and having the finest appointments, the uniform stands in mute testimony to Colonel Roberts' wealth. The coat bears Tiffany & Co. buttons and ultra-fancy colonel’s shoulder straps with a luxurious (and rare) cross belt baldric bearing the emblem of the State of Maine.

The thirty-two year old Charles Wentworth Roberts (1828-1898) joined the 2nd Maine Infantry as lieutenant colonel on May 2, 1861. He was advanced to colonel on August 29, 1861 and commanded the regiment throughout the 1862 campaign in Virginia. He resigned from the volunteer service on January 1863 making the coat a fairly early war example. The Bowdoin College alum was brevetted Brigadier General on March 13, 1865 “for distinguished conduct at the battle of Hanover Court House, Va.” that occurred on May 27, 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign. After an initial assault by General Porter drove the Confederates from the field, the 2nd Maine and two other New York regiments under General Martindale were left behind to guard the road junction while the rest of Porter’s force pursued the retreating Confederates. This movement exposed Martindale's small force to attack by the bulk of General Branch's North Carolina brigade probing the road, and which Porter had mistakenly assumed was nearby at Hanover Court House. Branch hurried a weak attack that was repelled but a second attack was reinforced and supported by artillery and “Martindale’s force was almost destroyed by the heavy fire.” Union reinforcements were called back and the Confederate line “broke under the weight of the thousands of new troops and they retreated…”

Colonel Roberts returned to Bangor where he became a successful lumber merchant and banker. He died there on October 22, 1898 and was buried in the local Mount Hope Cemetery (Corporation Grounds, Lot 423). This coat is arguably the finest in the collection from a quality standpoint.


Provenance:  
Mr. John Voss, Mr. Douglas Morr, Mr. Dave Taylor


Condition:  
No apparent signs of wear.  Wool is an excellent shape with 1 noticeable moth hole on left elbow.  Lining of jacket is an excellent shape with 3 small holes and tearing at seam  in right skirt.  Overall condition is excellent.
Sold: $6,168.75
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
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