W.D. Shrirer Company E

Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Dave Winfield, we have these pictures of the very gun and sword that belonged to this soldier of the 1st SC Cavalry, Company E. 

W.D. Shirer was, like many others, killed at or died from complications of wounds received at Gettysburg.  He is mentioned in Malone’s report on the East Field battle, and in Col. Black’s notes. 

His saber has his name scratched into the hilt, and company/unit stamped in to the pommel still clearly marker, as does his Model 1842 model, cut down to a more useful [shotgun] length for the Cavalry. He had carved his name and unit on the gun.

From the Library of Southern literature:
compiled under the direct supervision of Southern Men of Letters
Volume 16 page 200

By John Calvin Metcalf

Personal Recollections of the Battle of Gettysburg by Peter J. Malone

Orangeburg, SC  Jan 6, 1867
addressed to Col John Logan Black in Ridgeway, SC

“the story of a single charge..”.

During the East Cavalry Field engagement at  Gettyburg, Malone [Co. E, 1st. SC Cav] was in the color guard, to the “right of J, H, Koger, the bearer of the standard”, and on his right was “Sergeant T. P. Brandenburg”.  In his letter to Black he mentions passing a wounded Shirer enroute to medical facilities. All of the color guard were from Co. E. 

W. D. Shirer was listed in the 1860 census as age 18 and from Orangeburg, SC. He enlisted in the South Carolina forces in November 1861. Listed in the Official records as wounded at Chancellorsville in May 1863; he was in fact wounded in
the East Field Cavalry action at Gettysburg in July 1863; according to personal recollections of J.P. Malone, also of the 1st. SC Cavalry. Shirer died in a Yankee hospital a few weeks later, having been left behind during the Southern pull back. His internment is unknown.

His gun and sword were discovered in a New York GAR hall and sold to a dealer at a Pennsylvania flea market in 1996.  It has passed through the hands of several well
known dealers and collectors and at one time was displayed in the Gettysburg National Park Museum while it was in the care of Mr. John Hayes. 

The sword is an unmarked, imported model 1860 light cavalry saber made by S&K
(Schnitzler & Kirschbaum of Solingen, Germany). Many of these as well as other models were run through the blockade. The well known Palmetto Cavalry and Artillery swords from The Palmetto Armory {Wm. Glaze}, Columbia, SC; {Model 1840 heavy sabers] were in fact German swords. The pommel cap has been stamped “CO E” over “I  SC” while on the top of the cap is scratched “W.D. Shirer” in the same script as the gun. All the expected dents, dings, and wear are present. 

Shirer’s musket was modified for cavalry use:  Originally an 1844 dated U.S. Model 1842 Springfield smooth bore musket, it probably found its way back to South
Carolina after the Mexican War. In original condition an early dated Mexican War era musket would be quite collectable, but the CS modifications make it even more interesting.  The barrel was cut down to about 30 inches, and the trigger guard was reversed to locate the sling swivel to the rear so a loop sling could be attached. One of the barrel bands was discarded. It was used as a shotgun. Under side of the barrel is stamped ”62” and “62” is penciled into the wood in the barrel channel, indicating more than one such alteration was made. Regimental markings  are stamped on the barrel tang “50” over “E”, indicating trooper 50 of company E.  Along the left side of the butt stock is neatly carved the identification;  “W . D. Shirer  x  Co. E x 1 So. C.”