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CDV, General William W. Loring

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Item Number: cdv9698
 

 



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Had his arm amputated in the Mexican War

From the personal collection of Surgeon & General Bernard John Dowling Irwin. Irwin has the distinct honor of being the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in U.S. military history by date of action, February 13, 1861


(1818-86) Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, he was known as "Old Blizzards." His early military career saw him in action against the Florida Seminoles. Later he studied law and was elected to the Florida legislature. Commissioned directly in the Regular Army in 1846 as a captain of the newly established Regiment of Mounted Rifles, he earned the brevets of major and lieutenant colonel in the Mexican War, being seriously wounded at the battle of Chapultepac resulting in the loss of his arm. Promoted to colonel of his regiment in 1856, he was both then and at the time of his resignation on May 13, 1861, the youngest line colonel in the old U.S. army. He was appointed brigadier general in the Confederate army on May 20, 1861, and major general on February 15, 1862. He clashed violently with General Stonewall Jackson over the conduct of operations in the Romney expedition during the winter of 1861-62 in the Shenandoah Valley. Later assigned to the Army of Mississippi, in December 1862, his division was cut off from the main body of General John C. Pemberton's forces at the battle of Baker's Creek, and thus escaped capture at Vicksburg. From then until the end of the war he commanded a division under General Leonidas Polk, and later in the Army of Tennessee under Generals' Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood participating in the battles of Franklin and Knoxville. Loring was the senior major general on active field duty in the Confederate army when he surrendered with General Joseph E. Johnston in April 1865 in North Carolina. In 1869, he went to Egypt with several other veterans from the War Between the States and was commissioned as a general under the Khedive of Egypt where he achieved much success. He saw action in several campaigns in 1875-76, earning several decorations and the esteemed designation as Pasha. Loring returned to the United States in 1879, and was active in Florida politics and he lectured widely on his military experiences in Egypt. He died in New York City on December 30, 1886, and was initially buried at the Grace Episcopal Church. His remains were later re-interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in St. Augustine, Florida, with much pomp and circumstance.

Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 3 3/4 card. The mount is slightly trimmed. Back mark: E. & H.T. Anthony, 501 Broadway, New York. Vignetted seated view in Confederate uniform clearly showing his empty sleeve from his Mexican War amputation. He is wearing a rectangular belt plate, over the shoulder cross belt, and cradling his sword across his lap. A table with ink well and pen is seen at the left. Period ink inscription on the front mount, Maj. Genl. W.W. Loring, C.S.A, "Loring Pasha." Written in period ink in Irwin's hand on the reverse is, Major Genl. W.W. Loring, C.S., "Loring Pasha." Died '86. Genl. B.J.D. Irwin album, No. 142 is written in pencil at the bottom. Minor age toning and wear. Very fine. Rare with this provenance literally making this image "one of a kind." Loring is a very scarce image in his own right as I have not had one in well over 25 years! Very desirable Confederate image!

Trivia: The term "Pasha" was one of the highest ranking titles in the Kingdom of Egypt during the 19th century.

History of United States Surgeon & General Bernard John Dowling Irwin



Surgeon & General Irwin was the first United States Medal of Honor Recipient by date of action, February 13, 1861

(1830-1917) Born in County Roscommon, Ireland, he immigrated with his parents to the United States in the 1840s. He attended New York University from 1848 to 1849, and then served as a private in the New York Militia. In 1850, he entered Castleton Medical College, and he later transferred to New York Medical College, where he graduated in 1852.

He served as a surgeon and physician at the State Emigrant Hospital on Ward's Island, NYC, until his appointment as assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army in 1856. He was an assistant army surgeon during the Apache Wars, and was the first Medal of Honor recipient chronologically by date of action. His actions on February 13, 1861, at Apache Pass, Arizona, are the earliest for which the Medal of Honor was awarded! The citation on his medal of honor reads; "Voluntarily took command of troops and attacked and defeated hostile Indians he met on the way. Surgeon Irwin volunteered to go to the rescue of 2d Lt. George N. Bascom, 7th U.S. Infantry, who, with 60 men, was trapped by Chiricahua Apaches under Cochise. Irwin and 14 men, not having horses, began the 100-mile march riding mules. After fighting and capturing Indians, recovering stolen horses and cattle, he reached Bascom's column and helped break his siege."

Cochise, the Apache Indian chief, and a group of Apache warriors were accused of kidnapping a boy and a small group of U.S. soldiers in the Arizona Territory after the Army had captured Cochise's brother and nephews. When the Army refused to make a prisoner exchange, Cochise killed his prisoners. Soldiers then killed Cochise's brother and nephews. 2nd Lieutenant George Nicholas Bascom led a group of 60 men from the 7th U.S. Infantry after Cochise but was soon besieged, prompting a rescue mission by the army. In response to the siege of Bascom and his men, Irwin set out on a rescue mission with 14 men of the 1st U.S. Dragoons. He was able to catch up with the Apaches at Apache Pass in present day Arizona. He strategically placed his small unit around Cochise and his men, tricking the Apache leader into thinking that he had a much larger army with him. The Apaches fled and Bascom and his men were saved. Bascom and his men joined Irwin and together they were able to track Cochise into the mountains & rescued the young boy that Cochise had captured.

The Medal of Honor did not exist during the time of the "Bascom Incident," and would not be established until a year later in 1862. However, the actions of Irwin were well remembered, and he was awarded the Medal of Honor just prior to his retirement. Irwin's actions were the earliest for which the Medal of Honor was awarded, predating the outbreak of the American Civil War.

Irwin subsequently served with the Union army during the Civil War, and was promoted to captain in August 1861, and the next year was appointed medical director under Major General William "Bull" Nelson. He improvised one of the first field hospitals used by the U.S. Army at the Battle of Shiloh, on April 7, 1862. He was captured during the Battle of Richmond, Ky., while attempting to save the wounded General Nelson. He was promoted to major in September 1862, and after his release from a Rebel prison he became medical director in the Army of the Southwest. From 1863 to 1865, he was superintendent of the military hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and in March of 1865, he was brevetted to the rank of colonel. He was a companion of the California Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and the Order of the Indian Wars of the United States. After the Civil War, Irwin served as a senior medical officer at several U.S. army posts, including West Point from 1873 to 1878. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in September 1885, to colonel in August 1890, and to brigadier general in April 1904. He died in Ontario, Canada, on December 15, 1917, and is buried in the West Point Cemetery, at the U.S. Military Academy, New York.

His son George LeRoy Irwin, graduated from West Point in 1889, and served in World War I, becoming a Major General in the U.S. Army.

His grandson Stafford LeRoy Irwin, graduated from West Point in 1915, and served in World War II, and became a Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army.

His daughter, Amy Irwin Addams McCormick, was a nurse with the American Red Cross and served during World War I.

General Irwin was an admirer and collector of photographs, and he put together a very large, and superb collection of Union and Confederate images. Interestingly, he collected photographs of both Rebel and Yankee alike. I have owned several famous military photograph albums before and never came across one that collected images from both sides of the rebellion. He numbered each individual image, and wrote a brief historical notation on each one. The collection was split up by another dealer, and by the time I found out about it, I was still very fortunate to be able to acquire about one third of his superb Civil War image collection. Each image is rare because it is "one of a kind" having come from the Irwin collection!

The image of B.J.D. Irwin pictured here is a copy photograph from the "Find a Grave" website and is used here for illustration purposes only.


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