M1858 Smoothside Canteen and Cartridge Box Tin Picked up at the Bloody Angle after the Battle of Spotsylvania and Given to Col. Clark S. Edwards 5th Maine Infantry


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M1858 Smoothside Canteen and Cartridge Box Tin Picked up at the Bloody Angle after the Battle of Spotsylvania and Given to Col. Clark S. Edwards 5th Maine Infantry – This early, battlefield pickup canteen and what appears to be a cartridge box tin (misidentified as a cup or “dipper’) were picked up at the site of the “Bloody Angle” on the Spotsylvania battlefield and given to Col. Clark S. Edwards of the 5th Maine Infantry. These two relics originated from the great grandson of Col. Edwards; we will provide the buyer with a handwritten note from Edwards’ great grandson, indicating that the canteen and cartridge box tin were given to Col. Edwards. Affixed to the canteen is an old (c. 1880 -1890), paper, printed note stating the following:





An accompanying note, from Col. Edwards’ great grandson states:

Given to My Great-grandfather

Col. Clark S. Edwards

C.O. 5th Me. Reg.

Col. Edwards was in command of the 5th Maine at Spotsylvania. The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House was fought from May 8 – 21, 1864, about fifteen miles southwest of Fredericksburg, Virginia. For two weeks Grant threw his men against Lee’s lines. Most of the attacks were thrown back with heavy losses. But a temporary Union breakthrough on May 10 led to a massive attack on May 12 on the Confederate position known as the Mule Shoe. The Confederate line was broken, and Lee’s army was on the edge of disaster. But counterattacks held back the Union attackers until a new Confederate defensive line could be stabilized. The fighting was possibly the most intense of the entire Civil War. In the end, Spotsylvania was another stalemate resulting in enormous numbers of casualties.

The metallic elements of the canteen remain in relatively sound condition; the body is obviously dented and depressed from damage incurred during the battle; it is missing its spout but retains all three of its sling guides. The cartridge box tin is seemingly about half of the original tin and is flattened from battle damage. Both artifacts have very little rust and no scaling or flaking, indicative of both not having been beneath the ground, but most likely were early surface recoveries.

Courtesy of the National Park Service:

Having targeted the Muleshoe Salient on May 10 with 5,000 soldiers and some success Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade decided to attack it again on May 12 with almost 20,000 troops. Those Federal soldiers spent May 11 marching into position. A steady rain fell, blanketing the area in a heavy fog. Around 4:30 am on May 12, the 20,000 U.S. soldiers moved forward. They quickly captured the Confederate pickets and continued their attack into the main Confederate line, screaming and hollering.

The initial Confederate defenses shattered almost immediately, and the Federals captured thousands of prisoners. Realizing that with the Mule Shoe taken, his lines were dangerously split, Robert E. Lee ordered counterattacks to stabilize the position. Thus began nearly 24-hours of constant combat, some of the most infamous fighting of the entire war that left both armies stunned. Sometimes separated by just a few feet of dirt, the two sides battled through the day and into the night around a bend in the works that became known as the Bloody Angle. One Union soldier said the Mule Shoe was “a seething, bubbling, roaring hell of hate and murder.” Another soldier wrote, “I never expect to be fully believed when I tell what I saw of the horrors of Spotsylvania, because I should be loath to believe it myself, were the case reversed.”

After nearly a complete day of fighting, the Confederates pulled back. The counterattacks bought the time needed to dig new trenches and allowed Lee to restore his line. The cost came to nearly 17,000 casualties on both sides around the Mule Shoe.

Courtesy of John Hennessy: That the Civil War was central to the generation of men who trod the battlefields is evidenced by the fact that so many of them sought to return to the battlefields in the years and decades following the war. One of the earliest visits was by former Colonel Theodore Lyman, who served on George Gordon Meade’s staff during the Overland Campaign. Lyman visited Spotsylvania on April 15, 1866–less than two years after the fighting at Spotsylvania. He wrote vividly of his walk along the Confederate works from the East Angle to the Bloody Angle.

From Lyman: We followed the salient northward, towards its apex [the East Angle] and traced the way in which our men had turned the works; – there was open country all about this part of the works; and the scattered graves marked where men had fallen as they advanced from the edge of the wood to the assault. At the very apex (which is obtuse) we had a good view over the country and I saw the Landrum house, only 600 yards off, where Hancock had his headquarters; and to the left and a little to the rear, the hollow, where Wright was, and where the missiles of all kinds were so plenty. The point termed “Death Angle” is still more to the left where the west face of the salient begins to slope and where the captured portion is connected with the prolongation of our line. The Quartermaster’s party has done its work on this field partially. Not only are the remains not collected in a common cemetery, but many marked graves have been overlooked. But, after all, the graves give little idea of the carnage here. Piles of men were thrown into the deep holes behind the entrenchments (built for cover by the enemy) and simply buried by digging down the parapet upon them. Only the scattered dead are marked and of those probably only a portion. It is here that the background of large oaks is completely dead; the trees girdled by bullets; and the red oak, 23 inches in diameter was cut down by bullets only. Nailed to a tree is a board with this verse: –

“On Fame’s eternal camping ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And Glory guards, with solemn round,

The bivouac of the dead”

It is a scene of waste on a barren slope; an oak wood, dead; the long, half ruinous intrenchments; and the graves and the scattered debris of battle! We turned from here, crossed a field strewn with the sabots of a rebel 12-pounder battery and passed through a wood of small pines all scarred by rifle balls.

Colonel Clark Swett Edwards (1824 – 1903) organized, at the onset of the Civil War, the volunteer Bethel, Maine Rifle Company. Shortly thereafter, Edwards was promoted to the rank of Colonel of the 5th Maine Infantry. Col. Edwards would remain with this regiment throughout the war, seeing combat at multiple, significant engagements, to include the Battle of Gaines; Mill, in June, 1862, where the 5th Maine would sustain numerous casualties. It appears that Col. Edwards picked up this pair of cased, field glasses on the field at Gaines; Mill; in consideration of the remnants of the original owner’s name and regiment, these glasses were probably in the possession of a Confederate officer at the start of the action at Gaines; Mill. Col. Edwards would be in command of the 5th Maine, at the Battle of Gettysburg, as well as numerous other engagements. In 1864, Edwards would muster out, at the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. General Edwards, after the war, he was appointed, by the Governor of Maine, to the state’s Gettysburg Commission; in 1886, Edwards was Maine’s Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate; in 1893, he was appointed to the Columbia Exposition Commission (the World Fair of 1893 in Chicago).

Clark Swett Edwards

Residence Bethel ME; 37 years old.

Enlisted on 6/24/1861 as a Captain.

On 6/24/1861 he was commissioned into “I” Co. ME 5th Infantry

He was Mustered Out on 7/27/1864


* Major 7/1/1862

* Lt Colonel 11/22/1862

* Colonel 1/8/1863

* Brig-General 3/13/1865 by Brevet

Intra Regimental Company Transfers:

* 7/1/1862 from company I to Field & Staff

Other Information:

born 3/26/1824 in Otisfield, ME

died 5/3/1903 in Bethel, ME

5th ME Infantry
( 3-years )

Organized: on 6/24/61
Mustered Out: 7/27/64Officers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 8
Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 1
Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 99
Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 76
(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Jun ’61 Aug ’61 3 3 Department of Northeastern Virginia New Organization
Aug ’61 Oct ’61 Heintzelman’s Army of Potomac
Oct ’61 Mar ’62 2 Franklin’s Army of Potomac
Mar ’62 Apr ’62 2 1 1 Army of Potomac
Apr ’62 May ’62 2 1 Department of Rappahannock
May ’62 Jul ’64 2 1 6 Army of Potomac Mustered Out

5th Maine Infantry Regiment

5th Maine Infantry Regiment
Active June 24, 1861, to July 27, 1864
Country  United States
Allegiance Union
Branch United States Army
Type Infantry
Colonel Mark H. Dunnell


Maine U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiments 1861-1865
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4th Maine Infantry Regiment 6th Maine Infantry Regiment

The 5th Maine Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War.


Organized at Portland, Maine and mustered in June 24, 1861. Left State for Washington, D.C., June 26. Attached to Howard’s Brigade, Heintzelman’s Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeastern Virginia, to August, 1861. Heintzelman’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1862. Slocum’s Brigade, Franklin’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army Potomac and Dept. of the Rappahannock, to May, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1864.

Afterward, the regiment was combined with those of the 7th Maine Infantry to form the 1st Maine Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment.[1]

Today the 5th Maine’s memory is preserved at the Fifth Maine Regiment Community Center on Peaks Island, Maine, formerly a reunion house for the regiment’s veterans.

Detailed History

This regiment was recruited from the third militia division of the state. It was mustered into the service of the United States on June 24, 1861, and numbered 1,046 men. It was made up entirely of new companies and was raised at a time when a spirit of intense patriotism prevailed throughout the state, so that little exertion was required to fill its ranks. It left Maine for Washington on June 26, fully equipped and armed with Springfield muskets and bayonets. On its way through New York City it was the recipient of a beautiful flag, presented by the loyal sons of Maine there resident. It remained in camp at Meridian Hill, Washington, until July 5, when it commenced its march to the battlefield of Bull Run. During its three years of severe service, it was engaged in eleven pitched battles and eight skirmishes, prior to its participation in the terrible campaign of the Wilderness under Grant. Its list of battles includes First Bull Run, West Point, Gaines’ Mill, Charles City Cross-Roads, Crampton’s Gap, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor. In the battle of Gaines’ Mill the 5th lost 10 killed, 69 wounded and 16 missing, its gallant Col. Jackson was carried wounded from the field and Lieut.-Col. Heath was among the killed. At Rappahannock Station, the regiment was conspicuous for its gallantry, and captured 4 standards of the enemy. The flags were presented to Gen. Meade, who said: “In the name of the army and the country I thank you for the services you have rendered, particularly for the example you have set and which I doubt not on future occasions will be followed and emulated.” In a gallant charge on the enemy’s works at Spotsylvania Court House, more than half of the regiment was lost in crossing an open field subject to a raking fire of canister, but it captured the works, and took 2 flags and a large number of prisoners. In addition to the 6 captured flags, the 5th had the record of taking more men prisoners than it carried on its own rolls. It left the front near Petersburg, June 22, 1864, and started for home, arriving in Portland on the 28th with 216 men, who were mustered out of service, July 27, 1864, the veterans and recruits having been transferred to the 7th Me. During its term of service it had received some 500 recruits.[2]


Detailed service

Organized at Portland, Maine and mustered in June 24, 1861. Left State for Washington, D.C., June 26. Attached to Howard’s Brigade, Heintzelman’s Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeastern Virginia, to August, 1861. Heintzelman’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1862. Slocum’s Brigade, Franklin’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army Potomac and Dept. of the Rappahannock, to May, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1864.

SERVICE.–Camp at Meridian HillWashington, D.C. until July 16, 1861. Advance on Manassas, Va., July 16–21. Battle of Bull Run July 21. Duty in the Defenses of Washington until March, 1862. Expedition to Pohick Church, Va., October 3, 1861. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10–15, 1862. McDowell’s advance on Fredericksburg, Va., April 4–12. Ordered to the Peninsula April 22. Siege of Yorktown (on Transports) April 24-May 4. West Point May 7–8. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Gaines’ Mill June 27. Golding’s Farm June 28. Savage Station June 29. Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison’s Landing until August 15. Retreat from the Peninsula and movement to Centreville August 15–27. In works at Centreville August 27–31. Assist in checking Pope’s rout at Bull Run and cover retreat to Fairfax C. H., September 1. Maryland Campaign September–October. Crampton’s Pass, South Mountain, September 14. Battle of Antietam September 16–17. At Hagerstown, Md., September 26 to October 29. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12–15. “Mud March” January 20–24, 1863. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin’s Crossing April 29-May 2. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3–4. Banks’ Ford May 4. Operations about Deep Run Ravine June 6–13. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2–4. Near Funkstown, Md., July 10–13. Hagerstown July 13. Bristoe Campaign October 9–22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7–8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 3 to June 15. Battles of the Wilderness May 5–7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spotsylvania May 8–12; Spotsylvania C. H. May 12–21. “Bloody Angle,” assault on the Salient, May 12. North Anna River May 23–26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26–28. Totopotomoy May 28–31. Cold Harbor June 1–12. Before Petersburg June 19–22. Ordered to the rear for muster out. Mustered out July 27, 1864, expiration of term. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 6th Maine Infantry.[4]


107 men were killed in action or died of wounds, while another 77 died of disease.[5] Another reference only has 137 men dying or being killed in battle (though same volume, in appendix, also claims 143 for casualty count).[6]


  • Mark H. Dunnell
  • Nathaniel J. Jackson
  • Edward Scamman
  • Clark S. Edwards