Complete with silver bullion full colonel’s eagles, & autographed cabinet photo.
This pair of epaulettes belonged to Civil War Major General George Sykes, and later U.S. army colonel who commanded the 20th Infantry.
The epaulettes came from a 1999 auction that sold the belongings of Brevet Major Louie M. Morris; a captain in the 4th, 6th, and 8th New Jersey Vol. Infantry, and who himself was commissioned into the 20th Infantry in 1866. In the lots offered in that sale were these epaulettes and a signed photo of George Sykes in civilian clothing, and signed at the time he commanded the 20th Infantry. The photo is mentioned on bill of sale, but not the epaulettes strangely.
I believe they must have been a gift to Mrs. Morris, or perhaps her son after her husband died in 1877, at the Lower Brule Indian Agency (Fort Hale). The Morris Collection is listed elsewhere on this site.
Condition of the epaulettes are super condition other than some fraying of the silk on the underside. The large fringe is correct for Field Grade officers; the silver bullion eagle insignia are held on with pins and are gorgeous. There are on buttons, or provision for attaching to the uniform. No maker name is visible, and they were not in a storage tin when I obtained them.
The image is very good, and the signature is that of Sykes.
Sykes had a long career in the military beginning in 1842, after his graduation from the US Military Academy. He saw service in the Seminole and Mexican Wars; appointed to command the 2nd Division of the V Corps (Army of the Potomac), and would later assume command of the V Corps in June of 1863. He was in many important battles including 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg. After the Battle of Mine Run, he received criticism for his performance in that engagement, and was sent to the Dept. of Kansas.
In 1866 he was commissioned a Lt.Colonel of the 5th Infantry, and soon after was awarded the command of the 20th Infantry as a full colonel. After two years of Reconstruction duty Louisiana, and Texas, the 20th was sent to the Dept. of the Dakota with headquarters at Fort Snelling, Minn., but most of the garrisons were in very remote parts of the territory.
It is so hard to obtain any high ranking material from the early Indian Wars, especially that belonging to a well know military man, and Civil War general.
USPS First Class Mail $15.00