This oil cloth covered trunk belonged to Captain Corliss, when assigned to the 8th U.S. infantry in the 1880’s.
I have owned this trunk and most of its contents for years, always enjoying items from the old west, and in particular, those personal belongings to soldiers during the Indian Wars.
Augustus Whittemore Corliss (1837-1908), was originally from Maine. He was commissioned a major in the 1st Rhode Island cavalry and then a major & lt.col. in the 2nd Rhode Island Cavalry from June of 1862 to July 1863. He resigned to enlist as a private (later a 1st sergeant) on 11 July, 1863, in company “H” 2nd Battalion, 15th U.S. Infantry and was later commissioned a 2nd and 1st lieutenant in that same regiment until September of 1866 when the 2nd Bn of the 15th became the new 32nd Infantry under the Army’s new reorganization of 1866. He served as the regimental quartermaster from 17 January, 1867 to 3 May, 1869.
With the reduction of the number of regiments in 1869, Corliss was assigned to the 8th U.S. Infantry in May, 1869; promoted to captain in May of 1873. Promoted again to the rank of major in February, 1897, and subsequently served in several more regular Army regiments, rising to the rank colonel by 1901.
During his time in the west, General Corliss commanded a company of the 8th Infantry on the Yellowstone Expedition, and some campaigning against the Lakota. In 1874, the 8th Infantry moved to the American southwest, but Corliss and some of the 8th Infantry when back to the northern plains to campaign against the Nez Perce. In 188o’s he was involved in the Apache Wars. Corliss was wounded at Santiago, Cuba during the Spanish American War, in 1898 while serving with the 7th Infantry. He went to the Philippines as a lt.col, with the 7th and returned to the States in February of 1901. He retired as a Brigadier General in 1904.
Some of the duty stations were he served in the Indian Wars were, Forts: D.A. Russell, DT, Pine Ridge Agency, DT, McDermit, Nebr, Hallack, Nev., Majove, AT, etc. He retired in Denver, Colorado.
This lot consists of the trunk, 2 CDVs, a few documents, and a book that Corliss once owned.
The wooden trunk is covered in black oil cloth, with iron strapping along the edges, and a wider band around the upper and lower portions. A black japanned lock, is centered under the lid, and now is missing the latch (there is no key); 2 hooks and eyes (one hook missing) helped to hold the lid down. The lid has a leather carrying handle which is unbroken. Most of the oil cloth is in tact with some tearing at the front bottom edge. Inside, it is completely covered with a blue floral patterned paper, which surprisingly is in pretty good shape. A paper label on the left side of the trunk is tacked on and reads, “CAPT. A. W. CORLISS / 8th Infantrry/ San Francisco, California / 3504.” The label inside the lid in similar fashion reads, “CAPT. A.W. CORLISS /8th U.S. Infantry / Fort Mojave / Arizona.” His new address was rewritten, “San Francisco, California” after crossing out the previous address. Two cloth straps on the inside that were used to hold the lid upright when open are long gone.
Size is 11″ w x 11.5h x 18″ long. Trunk is tight, hinges strong, Overall has a great look.
The first CDV is Corliss in an upper bust view, wearing his forage cap with 15th Infantry insignia. The image was taken by Riddle’s, Macon, Ga. (during Reconstruction period), and signed “With Compliments A.W. Corliss, 33rd Inf.” This photo was taken in 1866, the year the Army increased the number of regiments (2nd Bn, 15th became 33rd Inf.). Some lifting of photo from mount in a few small areas, overall very good.
In the next CDV, Corliss is photographed from the side, with his identification (not a signature in my opinion) on the photo and mount. Taken by Manchester Bro. & Angell, Providence, R.I. Most likely taken with the 8th Infantry moved back north to the New York area in preparedness for an expedition to San Domingo, but instead in a short time proceeded to Chicago to help maintain order after the Chicago Fire of 1871. Revenue stamped uncancelled. Some soiling on the image (pencil smudging) but should clean some; very good condition.
Pay Voucher paid on 31 October, 1869, Goldsboro, N.C., as 1st Lt., 8th Inf., covering the period 30 September to 31 October, 1869 for himself and one black servant by the name of “Sam.” In the remarks section, Corliss has recorded his service record to date (not usually seen with an great frequency on these pay vouchers), and has signed the document below. Attached is a letter in his hand to Paymaster Nichols at Charleston, S.C. Document is in very good condition.
Abstract of Purchases, paid 28 May, 1870, for the month from 7 Jan. to 23 Feb., 1870 at Charleston, S.C. Payment made, “For services rendered the United States as Act. Com of Subsistance, U.S. Army at Chapel Hill, N.C. from January7…………..etc.” Signed at bottom. On the docket, signed by Com. of Subs. A. B. Eaton, certifies that Corliss did perform the duties, beyond that from his regular company duties as Assistance Commissary of Subsistance at his post for the time stated. Eaton, had begun his career, after graduating from USMA in 1826, in the infantry and saw combat in the Mexican War, at the battle of Buena Vista. Eaton was promoted to Brig. Gen. Com. of Subs. in June of 1864, during the Civil War, receiving brevet rank of MGen. in 1865. He died in 1877.
The last paper item, a letter from Corliss to Paymaster Nichols on Oct, 29, 1869, saying he had received 3 checks from the paymaster for $124.63, etc.. and signed by Corliss.
The last item, a book titled, ” Sword And Pen or Ventures and Adventures of Willard Glazier (Soldier & Author); Phila., P.W. Ziegler & Co. Publishers, 1884. A book about Glaziers time during the Civil War in the Harris Light Cavalry, the 2nd New York Regiment, his capture and time in Libby Prison, recapture and sent to Andersonville Prison and escape. He then reenlisted in the 26th New York Cavalry for the last 2 months of the war, and was breveted Brigadier General for meritorious service during the war. Much more about his post war exploits. 524 pages in great condition. Has a presentation by Brig. Gen. Corliss to a Charlotte D. Phinney on 3/31/05, in pencil and in his hand, a bit shaky though, on his printed calling card.
The book and the image taken in R.I. were with the lot when I purchased it, I added the other material.
A great lot for an officer who had a long and exciting career in the U.S. Army.