Massachusetts Marksman’s Grouping- George P. Cooley


George P. Cooley served in 4 MVM units during his military career, and this grouping consists of 1st Mass Heavy Artillery items from the Spanish American War Era.

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I bought George P. Cooley’s trunk grouping some 15- 20 years ago at a local antique show.  The trunk contained most of his shooting medals and badges, papers, photos galore, uniforms and headgear that at least represented the four units of the MVM he had belonged to in his military career.  Those units were the National Lancer, Massachusetts Naval Militia, 1st Massachusetts Infantry, and the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.

Those items were sold several times over, with this portion returning to me just recently.  This grouping represents a good selection of items from Cooley’s 1st Mass HA days from the Spanish American War era.  This group consists of his id’d trunk, 5 button blouse with 1st Mass HA silver badge pinned on it, various photos of his company, camp at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Marksmanship team photo, letters, unit history, and a few miscellaneous items.

Cooley’s 5 button blouse has sergeant’s chevrons with two service stripes, the left arm having a wool and bullion marksman insignia above the chevron.  The 5 coat buttons are officers type with the “A” for artillery (commonly done by NCO’s to wear officer buttons), the cuff are standard general service pattern.  There are a few moth holes, but nothing significant, overall a nice coat and real sharp looking.  Pinned on the coat is a small shield shaped badge with the crossed cannons and designated to the 1st Mass Heavy Artillery.

A nice selection of images are here, 1st a large cabinet of Co. B. taken in August 1896 at Fort Warren.  Cooley is seated third from the left sporting a large mustache; the image measures 7.5 x 9.5 inches, and overall with matting; 12.5x 14.5 inches.   Eleven square mounted images of the same period, mostly of camp scenes at Fort Warren,   two rectangular mounts with images of the Mass Naval Militia (Battalion).

The group contains five super letters, most descriptive of camp life, and other information about loading cartridges, training with the big, new “disappearing coastal guns”, drilling, marksmanship shooting and competitions, mustering into Federal service at the beginning of the Spanish War, of which the 1st Mass Heavy was the first to be federalized from all states.  These letters date beginning in 1).  August 2 of 1896 from Fort Warren.  2). August 4, 1896 on company stationery.  3).  Fort Warren, August 9, 1897,   4).  Fort Warren, August 12, 1897, firing artillery at targets, large amounts of torpedoes in armory at fort used for harbor defenses.  5).  Fort Warren, May 19, 1898; “200 of the regiment declined to enlist for various reasons…mustered into U.S. Volunteers, having the double distinction of being the first volunteers to go into active service and the first Regiment to be mustered into the U.S. service in the Country……”

A unit history; The First Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, United States Volunteers in the Spanish-American War of 1898 by Colonel James A. Frye, with Regimental Roster and Muster Rolls and fifteen illustrations, Boston, 1899.  Hard cloth covers, 258 pages.  In fine condition with frontispiece loose at top, easily fixed.

The remaining items are a map of Massachusetts 1897, a copy of an image of Cooley and two other soldiers in “on guard” pose, a enameled cup and ladle used in camp, and a OD color duffle bag with a tear.

The trunk is sizable being 32x22x16h in a dark green with red painted letters and labeled on top with paper tag, and express label.  One upper tray with 1 large compartment and two smaller.

One additional photo that I added, and never was part of the original group, is a large portrait of the 1st Mass Infantry Rifle team all holding their Springfield Trapdoor Rifles.. taken by Purdy of Boston. the condition of the image is fine, with only the mat showing some glue residue as it was once matted and framed.  Size overall; 22×18 inches, image size; 16.5x 13.5 inches.

A super group!

As of July 1, I have added another image of Cooley, a cabinet card of him with his medals.

The shipping has not been calculated for this lot as that will depend on your location.  Most of the group can be shipped with other arrangements made for picking up the trunk by other means.

Additional information

Weight 75 lbs
Dimensions 26 × 26 × 18 in