SOLD – Original Non Dug Civil War ID Tag for Sergeant Miner E. Fish of the 5th Vermont Infantry



Original Non Dug Civil War ID Tag for Sergeant Miner E. Fish of the 5th Vermont Infantry – This is an excellent example of a “War of 1861” brass, ID tag, the type purchased by many Federal soldiers, from sutlers, who then die-stamped their names and regimental affiliations on the back of the tag. We obtained this ID tag from the estate of famed Virginia journalist and history author, Virginius Dabney. Attached to this listing is an excellent article, by David McCormick, that appeared in the online journal “Antique Trader”, that discusses, at length, Civil War ID tags**. This tag remains in excellent condition; the stamping on the back of the tag enumerates the name and regiment of the original owner:



Co C





Miner E. Fish enlisted on May 2, 1861, into the 1st Vermont Infantry, a three-month unit. After he mustered out, in Aug. of 1861, he joined the 5th Vermont Infantry, in September of 1861 and served, in that regiment, until the end of the war. The 5th Vermont would see a considerable amount of combat during their four years in service, participating in the following campaigns and battles: The Seven Days, Crampton’s Gap, Antietam, both Battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Sailors Creek and Appomattox Courthouse. Needless to say, Sergeant Fish was heavily engaged, with the 5th Vermont, throughout the entirety of the war. This is a fine Civil War, ID tag, worn by a veteran of many battles and campaigns.

Miner E. Fish

Residence Sheldon VT;

Enlisted on 5/2/1861 as a Private.

On 5/9/1861 he mustered into “C” Co. VT 1st Infantry

He was Mustered Out on 8/15/1861 at Brattleboro, VT
Fish, Miner E.
Side: Union
Location: Vermont
Battle Unit: 1st Regiment, Vermont Infantry
Function: Infantry
Fish, Miner E.
Side: Union
Location: Vermont
Battle Unit: 5th Regiment, Vermont Infantry
Function: Infantry
Miner E Fish
2 May 1861
9 May 1861
1st Infantry
15 Aug 1861
Brattleboro, Vermont
Mustered Out
Sheldon, Vermont
Miner E. Fish
5th Regiment, Vermont Infantry
Second Lieutenant
5th Regiment, Vermont Infantry

Organized at St. Albans and mustered in September 16, 1861. Moved to Washington, D. C., September 23-25. Attached to Brook’s Brigade, Smith’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, and Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to June, 1865.


At Camp Griffin Defences of Washington till March 10, 1862. Moved to Alexandria March 10, thence to Fortress Monroe March 23-24. Reconnoissance to Warwick River March 30. Young’s Mills April 4. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Lee’s Mills April 16. Battle of Williamsburg May 5. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Garnett’s Farm June 27. Savage Station June 29. White Oak Swamp Bridge June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison’s Landing till August 16. Moved to Fortress Monroe, thence to Alexandria August 16-24. Maryland Campaign September-October. Crampton’s Pass September 14. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. At Hagerstown, Md., September 26-October 29. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. Burnside’s Second Campaign, “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. Franklin’s Crossing June 5-13. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. Funkstown, Md., July 10-13. Detached from Army for duty at New York City and Kingston, N. Y., August 14-September 16. Rejoined army at Culpeper Court House, Va., September 23. 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 May-June, 1864. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 6-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient, Spottsylvania Court House, May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 18-19. Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23. Siege of Petersburg till July 9. Moved to Washington, D. C., July 9-11. Repulse of Early’s attack on Fort Stevens July 11-12. Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 7-November 28. Near Charlestown August 21-22. Gilbert’s Ford, Opequan Creek, September 13. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher’s Hill September 22. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. At Strasburg till November 9 and at Kernstown till December 9. Moved to Petersburg, Va., December 9-12. Siege of Petersburg December 13, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Fort Fisher, before Petersburg, March 25, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Sailor’s Creek April 6. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. At Farmville and Burkesville Station till April 23. March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there till May 18. Moved to Manchester, thence march to Washington, D. C., May 24-June 8. Corps Review June 8. Mustered out non-veterans October 14, 1864. Regiment June 29, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 202 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 124 Enlisted men by disease. Total 338.

5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment

The 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment enrolled a total of 1,618 officers and men during the Civil War. It lost 11 officers and 202 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 124 enlisted men to disease. The regiment is honored on the Old Vermont Brigade monument at Antietam, the 1st Vermont Brigade monument at Gettysburg, and the Vermont Brigade monument at The Wilderness.


Organized at St. Albans
September 16
Mustered in under the command of Colonel Henry A. Smalley (USMA 1854), on leave from the Regular Army where he had served as a Lieutenant in the 2nd United States Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis A. Grant, and Major Redfield Proctor.
September 23-25
Moved to Washington, D.C. at Camp Griffin Defences of Washington attached to Brooks’ Brigade, Smith’s Division, Army of the Potomac. Major Lewis Grant was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Joined with the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Vermont Regiments to form Brooks’ Brigade, Smith’s Division, Army of the Potomac
Duty in the Defences of Washington at Camp Griffin.
Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps. Army of the Potomac
March 10
Moved to Alexandria
March 23-24
Moved by ship to the Virginia Peninsula, landing near Fort Monroe and moving to Newport News.
March 30
Reconnoissance to Warwick River
April 2
Began the march up the Peninsula.
April 4
Young’s Mills
April 5-May 4
Siege of Yorktown
April 16
Lee’s Mills
May 5
Battle of Williamsburg
Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
May 13
The 5th Vermont was attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. It would remain with this organization until the end of the war.
May 19
Marched from White House Landing to the Chickahominy River, going into camp at Golding’s Farm
June 25-July 1
Seven days before Richmond
June 27
Garnett’s Farm
June 29
Savage’s Station
The regiment brought around 400 men to the field and in one half hour lost 188 officers and men, with Company E losing 25 men killed or mortally wounded and 19 men wounded out of 59.
June 30
White Oak Swamp Bridge
July 1
Malvern Hill
July – August
At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-24
Moved to Fortress Monroe, then to Alexandria
August 30
Reached the Bull Run battlefield on the evening after the fighting.
September 1
Ordered back to Chantilly
Maryland Campaign
September 10
Colonel Smalley resigned and returned to the Regular Army as a captain in the 2nd United States Artillery when his leave expired.
September 14
Crampton’s Pass (South Mountain)
September 16
Lewis A. Grant was promoted to colonel. Major Lewis Lewis was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and Captain Charles P. Dudley of Company E. was promoted to major.
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam
Commanded by Colonel Lewis A. Grant. The regiment was not heavily engaged at Antietam and suffered only 2 men wounded.

From the War Department marker for Brooks’ brigade on the Antietam battlefield:

Brooks’ Brigade left its camp in Pleasant Valley at 6 A.M. of the 17th, crossed the Antietam at Pry’s Ford and reached the field about noon. It was ordered to the support of Sedgwick’s Division, Second Corps, on the Union right but, before getting into position, was ordered to the support of French’s Division and formed in Mumma’s Cornfield, on ground vacated by the 14th Connecticut, its left connecting with French, its right resting on Mumma’s Lane, facing south parallel to and about 170 yards from the Bloody Lane.

It was subjected to a galling fire of both Artillery and Sharpshooters, causing some loss.

It remained in this position until the morning of the 19th.
September 26-
October 29
At Hagerstown, Md.,
October 29-
November 19
Movement to Falmouth, Va.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
January 20-24
Burnside’s Second Campaign, “Mud March”
February 21
Colonel Grant took command of the Vermont Brigade as senior colonel for most of the next year. Lieutenant Colonel John R. Lewis would command the regiment.
April 27-May 6
Chancellorsville Campaign
April 29-May 2
Operations at Franklin’s Crossing
May 3
Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg
May 3-4
Salem Church
Colonel Grant was wounded. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for “Personal gallantry and intrepidity displayed in the management of his brigade and in leading it in the assault in which he was wounded.”
May 4
Banks’ Ford
June 5-12
Franklin’s Crossing
July 2-4
Battle of Gettysburg
Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Lewis. It brought 341 men to the field and had no casualties.

From the Vermont Brigade monument on the Gettysburg battlefield:

Reaching this field by a forced march of thirty two miles in the evening of July 2, the brigade took position on the left Union flank near this point in anticipation of an attack by the enemy and held the same July 3d and 4th.
July 10-13
Funkstown, Md.
August 14-September 16
Detached from Army for duty at New York City and Kingston, N.Y. during the draft riots.
September 23
Rejoined army at Culpeper Court House, Va.
October 9-22
Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8
Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 7
Rappahannock Station
November 26-December 2
Mine Run Campaign
December 15
The regiment reenlisted and was granted a Veteran Furlough.
April 27
Colonel Grant was promoted to brigadier general.
Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
The regiment began the campaign with about 500 men, and in one month wold lose 349 men killed, wounded and missing, including 13 officers.
May 5-6
Battle of the Wilderness
May 6
Lieutenant Colonel John R. Lewis was promoted to colonel.
May 8-21
Spotsylvania Court House
May 12
Assault on the Salient, Spottsylvania Court House
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 26-28
Line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31
June 1-12
Cold Harbor
June 18-19
Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg begins
June 22-23
Jerusalem Plank Road
July 9-11
Moved to Washington, D.C.
July 11-12
Repulse of Early’s attack on Fort Stevens
August 7-
November 28
Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign
August 21-22
Near Charlestown
September 4
Colonel Lewis was transferred to the Veteran’s Reserve Corps
September 13
Gilbert’s Ford, Opequan Creek
September 15
Non-Vetrans mustered out at Clifton, Virginia, leaving 5 officers and 300 men.
September 19
Third Battle of Winchester (Opequan)
September 22
Fisher’s Hill
October 19
Battle of Cedar Creek
At Strasburg
October 14
Mustered out nonveterans
November 9
At Kernstown
December 9-12
Moved to Petersburg, Va. and the Siege of Petersburg. Went into winter quarters near Squirrel Level Road.
February 20
Captain Ronald A. Kennedy of Company K, 3rd Vermont Infantry was transferred to the 5th Vermont and promoted to lieutenant colonel.
March 25
Fort Fisher, before Petersburg
March 28-April 9
Appomattox Campaign
April 2
Fall of Petersburg
The 5th Vermont was the first regiment to plant its colors on the Confederate defensive works.
April 6
Sailor’s Creek
April 9
Appomattox Court House
Surrender of Lee and his army.
April 10 – 23
At Farmville and Burkesville Station
April 23-27
March to Danville
May 18
Moved to Manchester
May 24-June 8
March to Washington, D.C.
June 8
Corps Review
June 9
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald A. Kennedy was promoted to colonel.
June 29
Mustered out 24 officers and 288 men.
5th Vermont Infantry Regiment

September 16, 1861 to June 29, 1865
July 29, 1865
United States
United States Army
Union Army
Defense of Washington
Siege of Yorktown
Battle of Williamsburg
Battle of Garnett’s & Golding’s Farm
Battle of Savage’s Station
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville
Second Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Salem Church
Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Cold Harbor
Siege of Petersburg
2nd Brigade (Vermont Brigade), 2nd Division, VI Corps (Union Army), Army of the Potomac/Army of the Shenandoah (Union)

The 5th Vermont Infantry Regiment was a three years’ infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The 5th Vermont Infantry was part of the Army of the Potomac, in the Vermont Brigade of the Sixth Army Corps.[1] It included a total of 1618 soldiers. The regiment was mustered into Federal service on September 16, 1861, at St. Albans, Vermont. The regiment lost during service: 201 men killed and mortally wounded, 4 died from accident, 1 executed, 21 died in Confederate prisons and 112 died from disease; total loss: 339. The regiment mustered out of service on June 29, 1865.

**Collecting Civil War ID Tags

Facing the prospect of impending death, Civil War soldiers fashioned their own ID tags from coins and tokens. These Civil War ID tags are collectible today.

SEP 2, 2020


JUN 18, 2019

Fear affected the psyche of many Union soldiers at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Facing the prospect of impending death, the men feared the worst. Many were veterans of several battles and knew all too well the difficulty of identifying the dead whose bodies were severely maimed and disfigured. They feared that their loved ones, back home, might not know what happened to them if they fell in battle—the troops saw far too often their mortally wounded comrades interred in shallow unidentified graves.

With artillery and musketry closing in, the Federal soldiers busied themselves attaching pieces of paper, with their names written on them, onto their uniforms. Earlier, some of the Union troops had carved wooden tags to identify themselves and put them on their person.

There is little anecdotal evidence of Confederate soldiers’ using some type of identifying items, but a number of Federal soldier ID tags and badges have been discovered. The most common appear to be round metal token-type tags. Some are homemade, created by the soldier himself, usually made from a coin. Others were commercially manufactured, in gold or silver, and sold mail-order. Less expensive examples were produced in brass or steel. Sutlers accompanying the army would set up shop along the soldiers’ route.

Government issued identification tags, termed dog tags, were nonexistent during the American Civil War. In May of 1862, John Kennedy, a resident of New York, proposed in a letter to Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, that each Union soldier be issued an ID tag. The overture was rejected. The soldiers were on their own.

These forerunners of the modern ‘dog tags’ were worn by soldiers who had “seen the elephant” often enough to realize the inherent practicality of the effects of battle. They understood that death was imminent. This determination was based on an appreciation of actual possibilities.

Despite the disquiet soldiers carried of being listed as unknown, the government did not advocate the issuance of identification tags. It was later found that 42% of Civil War dead remained unidentified. Of the over 325,000 Federal soldiers who are buried in National Cemeteries, almost 149,000 are marked ‘unknown.’ These statistics proved the soldiers’ fears were warranted.

On more than one occasion as a father, son or brother left home to shoulder a musket, concerned kin placed a token in the palm of their hands. They had taken care to crudely stamp the recruit’s name into the bit of lead, copper or possibly an old coin; giving strict instructions for battle-ready men to secure it tight to their person. Those with means might have followed the advertisements in Harper’s or Leslie’s magazines for the more ornate and more expensive gold or silver pins.

Drowne & Moore Jewelers, located in New York City, carried one of those advertisements in Harper’s Weekly. “Attention Soldiers! Every soldier should have a badge with his name marked distinctly upon it … a solid silver badge … can be fastened to any garment.”

As the war picked up in intensity, casualties rose. Soldiers marching into enemy fire became unnerved as comrades to their left or right, fell under the onslaught of musketry and artillery. This mise-en-scène created a growing market for drummers and sutlers. They followed the armies on the move or set up shop along the way. They offered a less expensive alternative to those engraved pins or badges offered by jewelers or watch fob makers.

Rare beautiful silver Civil War ID badge belonging to George C. Henry of the 9th Corps. The Corps insignia of crossed cannon barrel and anchor is beautifully engraved. It sold through Heritage Auctions for $2,510 in November 2008. Henry was severely wounded at Spotsylvania.

On site, those peddlers would stamp the Yankee trooper’s name onto the metal discs, along with other accordant information, such as regiment or state volunteer unit. Civil War dog tags carried patriotic legends: Liberty, Union or War of 1861. Soldiers under General McClellan’s command carried ID tags with his image on them. Many dog tags found listed the battles the wearer had endured—“Fought In Battles / Bull Run 2nd / Fredericksburg I & 2” are just three of the sharp contests listed on a dog tag found in 1980 near Hagerstown, Maryland.

Many old battle sites and bivouacs have generated several examples of Civil War dog tags. And surprisingly, many were from soldiers who survived the war. During the action, tags worn around the neck or attached to a watch fob or pin might have easily been torn away. This was the case for Corporal Seth Hill of NY 153rd Infantry. His dog tag was discovered at the site of the Battle of Cedar Creek. He survived and lived for another 65 years, passing away in 1930.

Each found soldier’s ID tags carried their own story. With muster rolls, payment records, diaries etc., and with today’s internet, it only takes the soldier’s name to trace his history during and after the Civil War.