Be aware when you visit Gettysburg battlefields this week, with an estimated 250,000 other visitors, that many memorabilia that are sold there might be a fake. Some people already refer to it as the Gettysburg battle sham. Not only are the memorabilia fake, they can also be stolen. There aren’t statistics yet but museums and police officers are warning the nation to be careful when purchasing those mementos. Because there has been in increase in incidents involving the plundering of Civil War artifacts.
Not only memorabilia were stolen but also the Gettysburg re-enactment was not secure. Thieves were able to steal a trailer containing war items valued at $10,000 in Frederick County, Maryland, last June.
Cheri Gainor, who owned the items that were stolen, reported that among those scarce items were a 150-year-old washing dolly — a wooden device used to agitate water in a washing barrel — as well as a number of mini-irons for cuffs and collars.
Apart from the fake or stolen mementos, Cheri who was robbed, but unharmed, were also several long-dead victims. Because in Burke County, Georgia, criminals have stolen items from several graves. These graves were the remains of Confederate soldiers in the Old Church Cemetery. These insensitive robbers opened the caskets in the hope of finding relics to sell. According to cemetery watchman Leroy Matthew Bell Jr., Burke County police officers have arrested two men in connection with this incident. Therefore hopefully nipping a part of the Battle of Gettysburg sham in the bud.
Stephen W. Sylvia, a military historian, author and antique store owner in Orange, Virginia, said that the rising popularity of relics was due to the anniversary of the war and the popularity of movies such as “Lincoln.”
“Prices for Civil War relics vary widely,” Sylvia commented. “An authentic minnie-ball, a cylindrical bullet named for its French army officer inventor, Claude-Etienne Minie, starts at around $3, while a Confederate uniform button can go for $150. A uniform can sell for thousands, and a sword may fetch more than $20,000.”
“Fakes are a problem,” he said, “especially when it comes to Civil War dog tags and slave tags. Authentic slave tags are especially rare unless they originate from the Charleston, South Carolina, area.” In addition many people sell Civil War bullets. According to Sylvia: “the minie-balls can sell for $10 or more if they come from a famous battlefield. Visitors to Gettysburg this week need to exercise caution, though, as not all bullets sold in Gettysburg were actually fired there. “Not very many are being found at Gettysburg any longer.”
It is wise to be aware of these fakes and stolen memorabilia. Don’t get involved in the Battle of Gettysburg sham. Because….”remember the men of honor who fought, suffered, and died in Gettysburg 150 years ago today. Men of CHARACTER on both sides….Americans ALL !…..to be proud of.
Union men fought to PRESERVE THE UNION , like Lincoln himself, NOT to end slavery….as has been erroneously taught for decades. Fear of LOSING slavery was the CAUSE of secession by the South.
Southern men fought to defend their STATES from an ATTACK by a Federal government, and its army, on their homes, neighborhoods, and way of life. They thought the Federal government DID NOT have the right to impose its authority and will over the sovereign States. The Union was supposed to be only for a common defense and currency , etc. The States were supposed to be independent and were to GOVERN THEMSELVES…not BE governed by a Federal authority!!
The above explains why so many admirable men were found ON BOTH SIDES OF THAT BATTLEFIELD !!!!
Men like : Lee, Chamberlain, Longstreet, Hancock, Armistead, Custer and Stuart…..just to name a few….not to mention the legions of common soldiers who are still on duty there……below the ground. Do not forget them…..they are our examples of what Americans CAN and SHOULD ALWAYS BE !!…” according to Banquos Ghost.
By Georgina Pijttersen