This cane is packed full of incredible history, having been presented just a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War. The inscription on top of the grip reads, "Lieut. D.C.Constable,/U.S.R.S./from Howell Cobb./July 1858." Howell Cobb (1815-1868) was elected to the U.S. house of representatives in 1843 until 1851 when he was elected governor of Georgia, where he served until 1853. In 1857 he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Buchanan, and served there until December of 1860. The presentation of this cane in 1858 makes complete sense, given the connections between the Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury. After his resignation, Cobb would go on to serve as president of a convention of the seceded states in February of 1861, and it was under his guidance that the constitution for the Confederacy was drafted. He was then commissioned as a colonel and then brigadier general in the Confederate army, with he and his brigade seeing combat in the Peninsula Campaign, as well as the battles of Seven Days, South Mountain, Crampton's Gap, and Antietam. Lieutenant David C. Constable was clearly an officer in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service as early as 1858, and in April of 1862 assumed command of the USRC Naugatuk/E.A. Stevens, the first iron clad warship in the Cutter Service, which was on service at Hampton Roads as part of the Union's North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The ship was involved in the hunt for the Confederate iron clad CSS Virginia and exchanged fire with the vessel at one point, as well as being involved in the assaults on the fortifications of the James River, including Drewry's Bluff. It is unclear if there was a deeper personal or professional connection between Cobb and Constable other than that which has previously been stated. Apart from the inscription, the gilt knob grip of the cane has extensive floral motifs and is fitted to a shaft that may be fruitwood, having smooth knobs and tipped with iron. It measures 36 inches overall.
Very good overall, the grip showing most of the bright gilt finish with minimal handling evidence, and the shaft having some scattered light handling marks and a hairline crack near the tip. An interesting presentation piece that clearly illustrates the deep rifts caused by the Civil War!
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