I.D. Tag with Initials J.S.G. (James S. Gill?) of Co. E, 100th Regt. P.V.
(Discovered near Fredericksburg, VA, January 2000 by Michael Murray. Scanned Tag Image Contributed by Michael Murray)
Collection of Michael Murray
|This I.D. tag was found by Michael Murray
in an area used by Confederate camps approximately 1 mile behind
the trenches used by the Confederates duri war. Mr. Murray found the tag
along with some Virginia buttons and Block I buttonng the Battle of
Fredericksburg. The exact site was a house used as a field hospital during
thes in January of this year (2000). The site is now under houses. It is
Mr. Murray's opinion that based on the size of the tag (1/2" x 5/16"), it
may have been inset in a Knife handle or gun stock or glued to a corps badge
or ribbon as there are no signs of it ever having an attachment device that
would identify it as a "dog tag". It is presumed that the tag was possibly
made from a sanded down half dime.
Now for the big question...who did this tag belong to? Based on the struck initials and Bate's roster of Company E, there are only two reasonable possibilities, James S. Gill or John Graham. Pvt. James S. Gill was mustered into Company E December 28, 1863, when the 100th P.V.I. were finishing up their western campaign and approaching date of re-enlistment. Pvt. James S. Gill was killed at Spottsylvania Courthouse, May 12, 1864. The other soldier, Pvt. John Graham (middle initial unknown), mustered into the regiment Feb. 29, 1864, survived the rest of the war and mustered out with the regiment on July 24, 1865.
Which soldier is more plausible and why? The curator of the 100th Pennsylvania Website, David L. Welch, offers the following speculation that the tag belonged to Pvt. James S. Gill. As the tag was found outside of Fredericksburg, in an area used during the war as a Confederate camp and that Pvt. James S. Gill had not been in the Fredericksburg area during his shortened period of service, it appears that he may have lost it sometime during the march into the Wilderness in April/May of 1864. Pvt. Graham was also present during the March into the Wilderness but Muster Roll records on him show that he did not list a middle initial. As Pvt. Gill did list his middle intial "S" (Stewart), there is at least a higher probability that the tag belonged to Gill. Whichever soldier would claim ownership, he undoubtedly made and labeled the tag himself in fine detail during the many hours of leisure time that winter quarters of the Civil War soldier offered. A confederate soldier may have picked the tag up as a souvenir during the Wilderness campaign and then somehow lost it himself (seeing as the size of the tag was approximately the size of a dime!) The tag then remained undiscovered until January of 2000 when it was found by Michael Murray with some other Confederate artifacts! Whatever the case may be, we can only speculate how the tag was lost and then ended up where it did.
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