The historic artifacts in the next five lots all relate to Medal of Honor recipient General Nelson Appleton Miles starting with a very scarce presentation gold inlaid deluxe Winchester Model 1895 saddle ring carbine followed by three of his officer’s swords, a very distinctive Bowie knife with Indian head pommel, and a large oil painting of the general the same year he became the last Commanding General of the U.S. Army. These lots are followed by the personal Winchester Model 1895 of Captain John R. Hegeman Jr. from the same year that he ordered the Model 1895 for General Miles, along with Hegeman’s sword and a Colt Single Action Army revolver inscribed with his name. Taken as a whole, these lots represent an incredible opportunity to own an array of arms from the second half of the 19th century spanning from the Civil War through the Indian Wars and right up to the twilight hours of the 19th century as the United States cast its eyes westward past the coast of California and the stunning isles of Hawaii to the Philippines and onward into the 20th century. When Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925) retired as the 10th and last Commanding General of the United States Army in 1903, he could reflect upon over four decades of service to our country, fighting on the front lines of numerous major battles of the Civil War during which he was wounded four times earning him the respect of his men and later the Medal of Honor, leading U.S. troops during Indian Wars on the Great Plains and in the Southwest culminating in the capture of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and Geronimo of the Apache, and leading U.S. Army forces during the invasion of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. As his career came to a close, he served as a thorn in the side of the McKinley and Roosevelt administrations, arguing on behalf of American soldiers and Native Americans alike. Though forced to retire at the age of 64 per regulations, he undertook the longest horseback ride ever taken by a Commanding General of the Army just to show that he still had what it took to lead men in the field less than a month before he was set to retire. He covered the 90 miles between Fort Sill and Fort Reno in the sweltering mid-summer heat in 10 hours and 20 minutes. Though in his late 70s, he volunteered to serve again with the U.S. entry into World War I, but, like Theodore Roosevelt, his offer was declined by President Woodrow Wilson. However, his son, Sherman Miles, later a major general, did serve in Europe during the “War to End All Wars.” General Miles’s autobiography was aptly titled “Serving the Republic” and is included with the first two lots in the archive that follows. In it, Miles included General Orders No. 116 in which he said farewell to the U.S. Army. He noted that “Unswerving devotion to our government and the principles upon which it was established and has been maintained is essential to the efficiency of the national forces, and especially is this so in a democratic government where the individual, in order to be a perfect soldier, must first be a true citizen.” General Miles was certainly the later. Unlike many of the country’s famous generals, General Nelson A. Miles was not a wealthy political appointee or West Point graduate; he studied military history and strategy at night after a day’s work as a clerk in Boston and then advanced his way up through the ranks and earned his commands from experience on the battlefield and by demonstrating his ability to lead and inspire his men in the face of the enemy to his own peril. He was a player in many of the era’s most significant campaigns. As such, Miles is easily one of the 19th and early 20th century’s most notable military figures. He played a major role in the settlement of the West, American expansion outside of North America, and the country taking a leading role on the international stage. A resident of Massachusetts, he used his own savings and borrowed funds to raise and arm a company in September 1861 and officially entered the service as volunteer first lieutenant in the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. Less than a year later, he was lieutenant colonel of the 61st New York Infantry and within months their colonel. The sword in the second lot of this section was presented to him in September 1863 as colonel of the 61st. Miles quickly earned a reputation for bravery and a willingness to fight. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 12, 1864, and then promoted to major general of volunteers on October 21, 1865. After the Civil War, he was appointed as colonel of the 40th U.S. Infantry and promoted to brevet major general in March of 1867. He transferred to the 5th Infantry in 1869 and then became a brigadier general in the U.S. Army in 1880, major general in 1890, and lieutenant general in 1900. While the later years of his career are the most famous, they were built upon his service in the American Civil War. As an officer in the eastern theater of the war, he participated in nearly every major battle of the Army of the Potomac aside from when he was forced to rest to recover from the several wounds he sustained in combat. He was first wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines (May 31, 1862) while he was serving on the staff of Brigadier General Oliver O. Howard and was leading a group of reinforcements from the 61st New York. His bravery in the battle earned him a promotion to lieutenant colonel. At the bloody Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), Miles served as lieutenant colonel of the 61st New York Infantry and then took command when Colonel Francis C. Barlow was seriously injured by enemy artillery fire. Command fell to Miles who led his men in continuing the fight and driving the Confederates back. Later that year, he was wounded in the neck during the Union’s ill-fated struggle to capture Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11-15, 1862). He remained in command of the 61st for the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30-May 6, 1863), one of the key battles of his early career. The 61st was part of the Union’s advance and then covered the II Corps’ retreat. He led his men ably and rallied them in the desperate fight against the Confederates on May 2nd and 3rd. Early on the 3rd while riding along his line, Miles was shot in the abdomen by a Confederate Sharpshooter and as he put it “obliged to leave the field.” Miles wrote in “Serving the Republic,” “While riding down the line at Chancellorsville one of the enemy’s bullets struck my metallic belt plate with great force. This caused a slight deviation as it entered the body. The result was an instant deathly sickening sensation; my sword dropped from my right hand, my scabbard and belt dropped to the left; I was completely paralyzed below the waist. My horse seemed to realize what had occurred; he stopped, turned, and walked slowly back—I holding to the pommel of the saddle with my hands.” Given the nature of his wound and the state of medical treatment of the time, he was fully expected to die from his wounds. Making matters worse, the Chancellor House to which he was carried caught on fire. He was then carried to safety again but was still left essentially untreated and was soon sent to Washington to await his death. His elder brother Daniel met him there and took him home. Though he survived the journey, the young officer was not expected to survive to celebrate his 24th birthday that August. Nevertheless, the bullet and pieces of his fractured hip were extracted two weeks after he was shot. After the surgery, his paralysis faded, and he quickly began to recover. Within weeks, he returned to the fight to save the Union. It was during this time that he was presented the Model 1860 Staff & Field Officer’s sword in the second lot of this section by the residents of his hometown of Westminster. Though he attempted to return to his command, he was forced to wait some time longer to heal and thus did not participate in the fight at Gettysburg. Instead, he served as an acting brigadier general at Huntington, Pennsylvania. Records indicate he returned to the field as commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps of the Army of the Potomac on July 31, 1863, with the rank of colonel. His brigade then participated in the campaign in Virginia that fall and winter and then in the Overland Campaign (May-June of 1864). Now a brigadier general, he led the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division of the II Corps in the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864), Spotsylvania Court House (May 9-21, 1864), and Cold Harbor (May 31-June 21, 1864). In July of 1864, he took command of the First Division of the II Corps. He remained aggressive in the later phase of the Siege of Petersburg (June 9, 1864 – March 25, 1865) where he was lightly wounded when a bullet struck his sword and a fragment hit his neck. He continued to press the attack at the Battle of Sutherland Station (April 2, 1865) where his men drove the Confederates back from their line on the right. A few days later at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek (April 6, 1865), his men participated in the last major battle against Robert E. Lee and his famous Army of Northern Virginia and participated in a running battle against Confederate General John B. Gordon’s troops during which Miles later noted his men “made most important captures.” They then continued in the pursuit of Lee. During the smaller Battle of Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865) that followed, his men helped corner Lee and finally compel his surrender thus largely bringing the war to a close. By the end of the Civil War, Miles had risen from an obscure first lieutenant to a major general of volunteers and had proven his ability as a military commander. He was placed in command of Fort Monroe in Virginia and thus was left in charge of Jefferson Davis. As the country worked towards reunification, Miles transitioned from the volunteers to the regular U.S. Army and became a colonel. The Bowie knife in the archive signifies the next phase of his career: the Indian Wars. In 1874-1875, he was the field commander in the Red River War where his forces emerged victorious over the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho and then shifted his attention north after Custer’s disastrous defeat at the Little Bighorn in the Great Sioux War of 1876. He chased the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne forcing them to surrender or flee across the northern border into Canada. This completed, Miles then battled the Nez Perce and accepted the surrender of their famous leader Chief Joseph on October 5, 1877. In 1886, he was called upon to replaced General George Crook and hunt down the famous Apache leader Geronimo who had escaped from Crook’s grasp. Under Miles’s orders, American forces under Captain Henry Lawton and Lieutenant Charles Gatewood chased Geronimo for more than 3,000 miles through brutal terrain and finally compelled his surrender. He officially surrendered to Miles on September 4, 1886. The Bowie knife from the collection appears to have been made to commemorate this victory. In 1890, the general returned to the Northern Plains. By that point, Miles had nearly three decades of military service under his belt and was promoted to major general. He was again leading troops against the Lakota. This time he was faced not with a large uprising by a powerful foe but by a desperate people struggling for their survival after being confined to reservations. They had found new hope in a spiritual movement spreading among the native peoples of the West, and the situation was tense and primed for tragedy. Miles himself wrote of the “cause of Indian dissatisfaction” and noted that the Lakota were suffering on the reservations and left in impoverished conditions because the government had not lived up to its promises. “That they had suffered for want of food, and the evidence of this is beyond question and sufficient to satisfy any unprejudiced intelligent mind,” wrote Miles to the Secretary of War in 1891. The situation understandably led even those who had been willing to work with the U.S. government to be discontent and even hostile. The Ghost Dance originated from Wovoka of the Paiute who said Jesus would come back and bring about salvation and that native peoples should dance and live in peace. Some believed that the whites would be covered in a landslide and/or swept away by a great flood and that wild game and their ancestors would return to the land. The Lakota also adopted “ghost shirts” which they believed would be bulletproof in the event of conflict with the U.S. Army. Many white residents and government officials were alarmed by the new movement and feared the dances were the prelude to a war. Miles repositioned his troops to maintain the peace, but this instead caused alarm. When Indian police were sent to arrest Sitting Bull, his followers resisted leading to the death of the famous chief as well as several others further escalating the situation. Around 200 of his followers fled to join the band under Chief Spotted Elk. Many of the combined party then moved on towards the Pine Ridge Reservation to seek protection under Chief Red Cloud. The 7th Cavalry moved to intercept and disarm them under Miles’s orders. Spotted Elk indicated their intentions were peaceful, and his people were then escorted to site along the Wounded Knee Creek without a fight. The next morning, they were surrounded, and the cavalry began confiscating their weapons. Initially, the process was peaceable. However, some of the Lakota began dancing the Ghost Dance creating tension among the troopers, and Black Coyote who was mute and deaf refused to give up his prized rifle which went off during a struggle. After this initial shot, the situation devolved into indiscriminate firing by the cavalry, including shooting and running down fleeing unarmed men, women, and children running for their lives. Some of the Lakota returned fire early in the “battle,” but they were soon killed. By the end, possibly more than 200 of the Lakota were killed along with 31 of the soldiers. Some of the latter were hit by friendly fire. General Miles was not present for the Wounded Knee Massacre, but visited the scene shortly thereafter. Rather than praise his men for following their orders to “destroy” the Lakota if they resisted, he stated the massacre was “the most abominable military blunder and a horrible massacre of women and children.” He relieved Colonel James W. Forsyth of command and launched an investigation. Forsyth was ultimately cleared of wrong doing and reinstated despite Miles’s opposition, and 20 of his men received the Medal of Honor. Miles continued to argue on behalf the survivors even after World War I. Though the tragedy at Wounded Knee marked a low point within Miles’s career, he continued on. The set of two swords in the third lot of this section were purchased by or presented to Miles around this time. As the commander of the Department of the East, Miles was called upon to use troops to end the Pullman Strike in 1894. President Grover Cleveland ordered the military to return law and order. The following year, Miles was promoted to Commanding General of the U.S. Army when Lieutenant General John Schofield retired. He led the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War, but his influence was somewhat limited due to opposition from President McKinley’s administration. However, General Miles led the offensive in Puerto Rico and captured the island in just 19 days with the loss of just three men killed. He briefly served as the island’s first military governor under American rule, and the island remains a U.S. territory today. Already at odds with the McKinley administration prior to the conflict, Miles publicly criticized government officials for poor quality and often putrid beef provisions which Miles and other officers suggested had been “embalmed.” This effort, including Miles pursuing the issue even after attempts were made to sweep it under the rug, ultimately led to President William McKinley requesting Secretary of War Russel Alger to resign. Commissary General Charles Eagan was also suspended after he called Miles a liar. Miles had recommended the military purchase fresh, local beef to supply the troops as it had done traditionally, but Alger had instead supported the Chicago meat-packers. It was in late 1899 or early 1900 that the scarce deluxe Winchester Model 1895, was presented to Miles by New York National Guard Captain J.R. Hegeman Jr., perhaps in direct recognition of Miles’s efforts on behalf of the U.S. troops. In 1900, Miles was promoted to lieutenant general and was near the end of his career. Newspapers were already reporting that he was due to retire in just three years, but the war in the Philippines was still ongoing, and he made an inspection tour in 1902 and was critical of the Army’s campaign there, again irritating administration, this time as a thorn in the side of President Theodore Roosevelt who derisively referred to Miles as a “brave peacock,” a nickname which seems ironic given Roosevelt’s own persona and self-promotion. Miles ended his career by showing he was far from an infirm old man. He made a 90 mile ride from Fort Sill to Fort Reno over the course of just 10 hours and 20 minutes clearly demonstrating he was physically able to continue to lead the Army. Government regulations mandated retirement at the age of 64, so he was forced to retire. Given he was not in favor with Roosevelt, his retirement ceremony was fairly uneventful considering his long and influential career. There was briefly interest in him running for president against Roosevelt in 1904 as a Democrat or on the Prohibition ticket. When World War I broke out, Miles offered his services to President Woodrow Wilson but was turned down. He died in 1925 in Washington, D.C., at a circus with his grandchildren from a heart attack. Prior to his death, he was the oldest living Civil War general. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in the Miles Mausoleum which is also the resting place of his son Major General Sherman Miles and his grandson Colonel Nelson Miles. The Carbine: Per the included factory letter, this carbine in .30 caliber with a fancy checkered stock and "Name inlaid in gold -'Gen. Nelson A Miles from Capt. Hegeman'" was received in the warehouse and shipped on December 20, 1899. The right side of the frame has "MAJOR GENERAL NELSON A. MILES." in flush gold inlay, and the left side of the buttstock has an inlaid silver plaque inscribed "MAJOR GENERAL NELSON A. MILES/FROM HIS FRIEND/CAPT. J.R. HEGEMAN." In the documents, Assistant Curator Richard Rattenbury of the Winchester Collection at Cody explains that the ledger entries were abbreviated and the notation directly relates to both the gold inscription on the frame and the silver plaque in the stock. He also notes that Miles was a friend of the western artist Frederick Remington. The barrel is fitted with a pinned nickel silver blade front sight and a military style notch and ladder rear sight graduated to 700 yards on the base and from "8" to "18" on the ladder. The frame has the caliber designation "30" on top at the breech, the three-line address and patent marking on the left, and a saddle ring on the left rear. The upper tang has the two-line model marking, and the serial number is on the lower tang. The carbine is fitted with a deluxe walnut buttstock, forearm, and handguard complete with checkering on the forearm and wrist. The stock has an empty trapdoor compartment and particularly beautiful figure. As discussed in the preceding section, this carbine was manufactured towards the end of Miles's career just following the American victory in the Spanish-American War and during the Philippine–American War. Its presenter, Captain John Rogers Hegeman Jr. (1872-1923), was a wealthy New Yorker with a particular interest in firearms and marksmanship in the late 19th century and early 20th century and was a member of the New York National Guard at the time this carbine and the carbine he ordered for himself in Lot 1015 were made. His father was the president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., and the younger Hegeman was an assistant secretary and director of the company. Captain Hegeman was a member of the New York National Guard starting as a private in Company E of the 7th Regiment in 1892. He was a captain and the inspector of small arms practice in the 108th Regiment as of July 1, 1898, and was assigned to the 5th Brigade and acting aide-de-camp as of Christmas Eve that same year. While the 108th New York did not fight in the Spanish-American War, they did muster into service in May of 1898 and were stationed in Virginia and Pennsylvania and suffered from typhoid fever. Starting on Oct. 6, 1899, he was acting as assistant inspector of small arms practice in the 5th Brigade. This would have been his role when the carbine was shipped in December 1899. The Model 1895 had been tested in trials to determine the standard rifle for the New York National Guard in 1896. Hegeman was at that time in the New York National Guard, and considering he was the inspector of small arms practice or assistant of small arms practice for many years thereafter, he was likely familiar with the design and may have been a proponent for its adoption. While New York did not order the Winchesters, the Colorado and Kentucky National Guard did use Model 1895s, and 10,000 Winchester Model 1895s were also ordered by the Ordnance Department for use during the Spanish-American War on May 3, 1898, for $207,000 and inspected by Ordnance Inspector Kelly S. Morse (his mark can be seen on Hegeman's carbine), but these rifles were delivered too late to be used in the conflict. However, a few privately purchased Model 1895s in .30-40 Krag were used by the officers of the Rough Riders, including one owned by Theodore Roosevelt that he gave to one of his troopers during the Battle of San Juan Hill. In September 1899, 100 of the Winchester Model 1895s were shipped for field testing in the Philippines by the 33rd Volunteer Infantry, but the report on December 25, 1899, indicated they were inferior to the Springfield Krag-Jorgensen for military service. The remaining 9,900 were sold as surplus through M. Hartley Company, mainly ending up in Cuba in 1906. While the 1895 didn't ultimately become a popular military rifle in the U.S., it was a popular rifle with wealthy and influential Americans, especially Theodore Roosevelt. Like Hegeman, Roosevelt presented a Model 1895 to an influential general in December 1899, his to General Leonard Wood. Hegeman and Roosevelt both also had ranches in the West which was somewhat fashionable for wealthy easterners at the time. Hegeman’s friend Edmund Seymour (1858-1949) of the banking firm Edmund Seymour & Co. also had a ranch in the West. Hegeman's is noted as adjoining William F. Cody's ranch in Montana, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on October 27, 1923, in their obituary for Hegeman, indicated he actually rode in Cody's show as a cowboy when it toured the East. Precisely when and where Miles received the carbine is not known nor are the exact connections between the much younger Hegeman and senior officer Miles. However, Hegeman's father and General Nelson Miles were part of some of the same elite social circles. For example, both attended the 3rd annual Automobile Club Dinner alongside numerous other wealth and influential figures in the early 20th century including Samuel Clemens, several politicians, Thomas Edison, and Martin Dodge. On December 21, 1899, Miles was in Philadelphia to witness a test of a new smokeless powder, and the following day is recorded as traveling to examine Brown segmental tube wire-wound guns at the Scott Iron Works and Diamond Drill Company. The Scott Iron Works gun was intended for New York Harbor's defenses which would have certainly been of interest to Hegeman as a New Yorker and National Guardsman. Included with the carbine is a copy of "Serving the Republic" by Miles, "A Hero to His Fighting Men: Nelson A. Miles, 1839-1925" by Peter R. DeMontravel, "The Unregimented General: A Biography of Nelson A. Miles" by Virginia W. Johnson, "The Search for General Miles" by Newton F. Tolman, "Nelson A. Miles & the Twilight of the Frontier Army" by Robert Wooster, and a binder of documents relating to the provenance of the carbine and General Miles. The documents indicate the carbine was formerly owned by legendary collector and dealer Norm Flayderman, and copies of letters from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to Flayderman in the 1970s discussing the carbine are included. Miles's Model 1895 along with Hegeman's 1895 in Lot 1015 and Hegeman's sword in Lot 1016 were sold by Flayderman to well-known Texas collector Charles Schreiner III of the Y-O Ranch in 1983, and the letter from Flayderman to Schreiner is included. The two carbines and the sword are also featured in the included copy of "Man at Arms" Volume 1 Number 6 from November/December 1979 in the article "A Matter of Provenance" by R.L. Wilson who notes that "Miles ranks as one of the most accomplished leaders of the Plains Indian campaigns, and was apparently quite a good friend of Hegeman. Miles' carbine and Hegeman's were probably built within a short time of each other, and, as mentioned, are custom guns of an extremely rare type." Wilson notes that Hegeman was clearly enamored with the Old West and notes that he was a secretive firearms collector. Provenance: The Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles Collection; The Norm Flayderman Collection, The Charles Schreiner III Collection; Property of a Gentleman
Exceptionally fine. The gold inlaid inscription on the frame remains distinct and bright. The silver plaque on the buttstock has attractive aged patina and a crisp inscription. The barrel retains 90% plus original bright blue finish with only light scratches and minor wear at the muzzle. The frame retains 80% of the original bright blue finish with some flaked areas on the lower portions and lever exhibiting smooth brown patina, some scratches at "MAJOR," mild oxidation and pitting on top by the hammer, and the hammer retains 90% original fiery case colors. The buttplate has dark patina, moderate pitting, and filing. The wood is very fine and has beautiful flame figure on the butt, minor wear on the otherwise crisp checkering, some checks in the figure on the buttstock, minor chips at the heel and toe, and general light handling and storage marks. Mechanically excellent.
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