Id’d Brooks’ Patent Writing Case C. 1864 – Wm. O’Brien 47th Wisconsin Infantry


Id’d Brooks’ Patent Writing Case C. 1864 – Wm. O’Brien 47th Wisconsin Infantry – The Brooks’ Patent writing case came in three styles: Writing, Work and Toilet Case, Writing and Work Case, and finally the Writing Case. D.B. Brooks and his brother maintained a music and stationary store in Salem, Massachusetts, prior to the Civil War; attempting to profit from the large numbers of soldiers entering the service, they produced a rollup writing kit, during the last year of the war; this kit is an example of their larger size kit. The Brooks brothers had collaborated with John Jewett (antebellum book publisher notably of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”) on several books prior to the transfer of the business. Their music and stationary store was in the lower level of a two story building; the business above them was a printing office. As it had begun in the 18th century and passed through many owners, they opted to keep the name as “The Bible and Heart”. The store featured a hand carved sign over the threshold, which was torn down and thrown into the harbor by vandals during the war of 1812. There were a few distributors of comparable writing kits, most notably the McCallister Brothers, who operated a stationary, optics and music store in Philadelphia. There were several products that the Brooks’ produced for the soldier market. The larger combined sewing and writing kit was awarded a patent in 1864, and owing to its late introduction, very rarely found its way into the military marketplace before the close of the war .This example of the Brooks’ writing case is constructed of black painted linen with a cotton fabric lining; still contained in the case are the following:  a cylindrical, rosewood ink well, still containing its original glass ink well; bone thread spool; slipped in the implement compartments – gilded mechanical pencil, diminutive pocket knife, early iron tweezers and period wood pencil. Inside the case is a label which reads:

Directions. To remove and curl from the Blotting Pad, roll it in an opposite direction.
Brooks’ Patent Military and Travelling Writing, Work and Toilet Case, weighing but 10 ounces.
Patented January 5, 1864.

“It contains a Tray with Inkstand, Envelopes, Pens, Holder, &c.; also a Folio with two Pockets, Blotting Pad to write upon, Checker Board, Lead Pencil, Paper, Scissors, Thimble, Buttons, Polisher, white and black Thread, Silk, Yarn, Pins, various sizes of Needles, Comb, Tooth Brush, Tooth Pick, Court Plaster, &c.

“The Writing case is distinct from the work case, and no article will fall out when the latter is unrolled. It can be useful on horseback. When rolled up it is only 1 3/4 inches in diameter, and is easily carried in the Coat Pocket.-Rain or dampness does not effect it.

“One of our Generals remarked that this case would be carried on the march, when the Knapsack would be left behind.
Many soldiers who have carried them through a campaign, would not part with them for many times their cost.
It is heartily commended by prominent officers of the Military and Naval Departments.
Brook’s Writing and Work Case, (without toilet,) weighing 9 ounces. Brooks’ Writing Case, (without work or toilet,) weighing 8 ounces.”

This rare case remains in overall good condition, retaining both pairs of its original cotton, rollup, closure ties. Original stenciling appears in two areas of the inner section of the cover of the case that reads:


  1. F. 47 WIS. VOL.

William O’Brien, from Whitewater, Wisconsin, enlisted as a Corporal, on Jan. 30, 1865, into Co. F of the 47th Wisconsin Infantry – see attached record of the 47th Wisconsin.

William O’Brien

Residence Whitewater WI;

Enlisted on 1/30/1865 as a Corporal.


On 1/30/1865 he mustered into “E” Co. WI 47th Infantry

He was Mustered Out on 9/4/1865 at Nashville, TN


47th WI Infantry
( 1-year )

Organized: on 2/27/65
Mustered Out: 9/4/65 at Nashville, TNOfficers Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0
Officers Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 0
Enlisted Men Killed or Mortally Wounded: 0
Enlisted Men Died of Disease, Accidents, etc.: 39
(Source: Fox, Regimental Losses)


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Mar ’65 Apr ’65 2 Defenses Nashville & Chatt. RR District Nashville Military Division of the Mississippi New Organization
Mar ’65 Sep ’65 2 1st Sub District District Middle TN Department of Cumberland Mustered Out


Forty-seventh Infantry
(1 YEAR)


Forty-seventh Infantry. — Col., George C. Ginty, Lieut.-Col.,

Robert H. Spencer, Maj., Kelsey M. Adams.


This regiment was organized at Camp Randall in the winter of

1864 and left the state Feb. 27, 1865.  It proceeded to

Louisville, Ky., Nashville and Tullahoma, Tenn., where it was

assigned to guard duty until the close of August, and was

mustered out Sept. 4.


Its original strength was 927.  Gain by recruits, 58; total,

985.  Loss by death, 34; desertion, 23; transfer, 29;

discharge, 87; mustered out, 812.

The 47th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp Randall in Madison and mustered into service on February 27, 1865. It was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, and then to Nashville and Tullahoma, Tennessee.

It served mainly as railroad guards at Tullahoma and in the District of Middle Tennessee until it mustered out on September 4, 1865. The regiment lost 39 men during service, all from disease.

47th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment


47th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment
Flag of Wisconsin
Active February 27, 1865 – September 4, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Size Regiment
Engagements American Civil War
Colonel George Clay Ginty

The 47th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was a volunteer infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


The 47th Wisconsin was organized at Madison, Wisconsin, and mustered into Federal service on February 27, 1865, arriving at Louisville, Kentucky, on February 28. They then travelled to Nashville, then Tullahoma, Tennessee, at the junction of the McMinnville and Manchester Railroad with the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. They remained here on guard duty until August, when they returned to Nashville where they were mustered out.

The regiment returned to Madison, Wisconsin, on September 4, 1865, where they were paid and disbanded.


The 47th Wisconsin suffered 39 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 39 fatalities.


Notable people

NAME: William O’Brien
MUSTER DATE: 30 Jan 1865
MUSTER REGIMENT: 47th Infantry
MUSTER OUT PLACE: Nashville, Tennessee
RESIDENCE PLACE: Whitewater, Wisconsin
TITLE: Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion