Shoulder Straps For Galvanized Yankee Colonel – Sold

A collection of shoulder straps worn by Colonel Charles A.R. Dimon, commander of Ex Confederate POWs, fighting Indians out west.


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I bought these out of a collection no long back; they had been deaccessioned from a small museum (that information not passed on) a good while ago.  A hand written letter dated December 17, 1961, identified the group, and this letter, the small tag that was displayed with the straps was placed in an attached envelope on the reverse of the frame. An inventory number was written on the upper right hand corner.

The frame contains a sampling of the shoulder straps worn at various times by Charles Augustus Ropes Dimon (1841-1902).  Dimon began his military career as a private in the 8th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Being a member of Company “J” of the regiment, they were assigned to guard the USS Constitution, then at Baltimore, Md., and other less military like duty, returning the Massachusetts after a 90 day enlistment.

When the 30th Massachusetts was being formed, Dimon helped to recruit that regiment, and was later commissioned a 1st Lieutenant, after the Regiment had been engaged in the Siege of New Orleans with the Butler Expedition.  In September of 1862, Dimon was promoted to major and assigned to a new unit, The 2nd Louisiana Infantry, formed from ex confederates prisoners of war, who took up battle against the South at the Battle of Plains Store, and Siege of Port Hudson in the spring of 1863. He took sick and was discharged for disability in June.

Recovered by the spring of 1864, Dimon was assigned to a new regiment, again, made up of ex confederates, and designated as the 1st U.S. Volunteer Infantry, otherwise known as “Galvanized Yankees.”  They were organized at Point Lookout, Md, and all the POWs were required to take the oath of loyalty to the Union in exchange for freedom, and the reprieve of living in hell hole prison camps. Dimon, at 23 years of age, received advancement to Colonel of the regiment after only 5 months.

The regiment of ex confederates did fight against the south in several eastern battles, but soon after, General Grant ordered that they should not be forced to fight against former comrades in arms, and transferred the regiment (along with the other 5 created Galvanized regiments) to the west.  Colonel Dimon’s command was stationed at Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, a post established on the Missouri River, arriving there in October of 1864.  Fort Rice was still in construction, and much work was needed to prepare for rough winters on the plains. The following spring of 1865 saw deteriorating relations with the Lakota; the arrival of additional troops, the Yankonai peoples made several raids on the fort. Dimon, having little experience with dealing with the locals, tried his best to promote peace and to a degree succeeded somewhat up until the arrival of even more troops.  A heated battle took place on July 28, 1865, at Fort Rice, but the troops were successful in defending the fort.

Dimon tried to maintain good relations with the Yankonai, under Chief Two Bears, and restricted illegal trade with the Indians, by dishonest white businesses and government agents. He would not let steamships and traders to pass without proper licensing, frustrating the white businesses and other civilians in the area. He began to dig himself a hole when he decided to take on the Indian Department, who constantly misappropriated funds (by the local officials).  Eventually, these conflicts with the government officials and influential business men in the area made for a political mess for Washington, and soon his superior commander, Gen. Alfred Sully, had to order him to amend his current practices.

It was hard service, and the ex confederates were growing restless with their circumstances and hearing the news of the war coming to an end in the east, wanted desperately to be discharged.  Dimon took sick in September of 1865 and requested a brief leave of absence. In the month that he was away, many of the soldiers had deserted the post, and those that had remained were fed up with waiting from their release from the army. Striving to maintain the fort and discipline among the ranks, relief soon arrived and the regiment was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Ks to be mustered out on November 27, 1865.

Charles Dimon gained a good position after the war, using his association with Benjamin Butler and was hired by Butler to manage the U.S. Cartridge Company in Lowell, Mass. Later, in 1901, Dimon would become the 37th Mayor of Lowell.

The condition of the two double bordered colonel’s straps are very good with mothing around the perimeter to the wool. The brigadier general strap shows mothing on the wool edging and some spots were the bullion shows wear. The strap itself is modified from a junior ranked officer of the general staff. Dimon had been promoted to Brevet Brigadier General on 13 March, 1865 for faithful and meritorious service in the war, and this while he was still stationed at Fort Rice. There would have been little chance to upgrade his dress uniform while in a remote location in Dakota Territory, thus the need to modify his straps. Obviously, the GAR cap device was heavily mothed, but nonetheless has been preserved here with Dimon’s other insignia.  A nice historic lot; and seldom seen “Galvanized Yankee” material for sale.

USPS  Priority $10.00




Additional information

Weight 1 lbs