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P. 150

previously undocumented, newly discovered box of ammunition with orange lid label
The descendant notes that the history of Colt S/A 1501 was related to
him by his grandmother prior to her passing in January 2016 (clarifying documents included). He notes that her mother was Marion [Upton] McRae. A look into the family tree shows the revolver was obviously passed down through the Upton family by one of Upton’s brothers and/or a nephew.
A most important “SAFETY INSPECTION CERTIFICATE” card signed by James P. Upton of 133 Cherry Street is included with the gun as found in the cased set, listing him as the owner of Colt “S.A.” revolver with serial number 1501 in 45/100 caliber. The card exhibits Upton’s thumbprint and states S/A Revolver 1501 has been duly inspected and was stamp/signed by the Chief of Police of Battle Creek, Michigan, on October 31, 1933. James P. Upton would have been James Parley Upton, General Upton’s nephew, a son of Stephen Upton.
Several articles and books have been written discussing Upton’s heroic service during the Civil War and his historic role in the evolution and professionalization of the United States Army, including the books “General Emory Upton in the Civil War: the Formative Experiences of an American Military Visionary” by Robert N. Thompson published just last year, “Upton and the Army” by Stephen Ambrose, and “Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer” by David J. Fitzpatrick among others.
Brevet Major-General Emory Upton (1839-1881) entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1856. He was an outspoken abolitionist and Unionist. During the war, he became one of the few officers to lead regiments and larger units of all branches of the Army, infantry, cavalry, and artillery and demonstrated his skills as a leader and tactician in all three. In fact, he was one of the more tactically outstanding generals during the Civil War, but his amazing exploits are only popular with the most die-hard historians today due to his young age at the time and
his overshadowing in the newspapers by senior officers such as Grant, Sherman and flashy counterparts such as George Armstrong Custer. Graduating eighth in his class of 45 cadets, he was commissioned a
himself, commanding a battery in the Peninsula Campaign,
then an artillery brigade at Antietam. Finding the fuses of his large shells faulty in both instances, Upton substituted solid shot on the fly, and his superiors lauded his guns for their lethal efficiency.
It was the beginning of a pattern; no officer was better at going to war with the army he had.
Everywhere he went, Upton displayed immense courage and devised startling new tactics, sometimes on the battlefield itself. A brevet major general by age 25, Upton was “the epitome of a professional soldier,”
as Stephen Ambrose later wrote. His greatest achievement was the breakthrough at Spotsylvania Court House using his own innovative tactic of using assault columns to quickly overwhelm a point in the enemy line rather than deploying lines and exchanging fire while approaching the enemy. This tactic was adopted and used successfully by General U.S. Grant two days later and continued to be used decades later during trench raids of the First World War. Upton succeeded to division commander when his superior officer was killed at the September 1864 Battle of the Opequon in the Shenandoah Valley, but, just a few hours later, Upton himself was knocked from his horse by a shell fragment that tore open
his thigh muscle and femoral artery. Despite being ordered to the rear by Sheridan, he had a tourniquet put on his leg and had himself carried about the field on a stretcher, directing his men until darkness brought an end to the fighting.
Upton’s actions earned him his stars as a brevet major general of volunteers but lost him his division when forced home to recuperate. Four months later and still limping, he was back, making his way to Nashville where Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson was putting together a revolutionary new strike force: some 12,000 Union cavalrymen armed with the new Spencer breech-loading carbines. Armed with their new weapons and tactics, Upton and Wilson ran amok through the Confederate heartland, adding their own innovations on the fly. Everywhere they went, they burned or expropriated the Confederacy’s dwindling stores and munitions, its foundries, arsenals, workshops, railroads and ironclads. Along the
way, they finished with a flourish: Wilson’s cavalry capturing the fleeing Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, while Upton’s men seized the fleeing vice president, Alexander Stephens.
Upton returned to West Point in 1866. He published “A New System of Infantry Tactics” in 1867, which helped shift infantry tactics in recognition of new technologies that emerged during the Civil War that made earlier tactics obsolete. He argued that skirmishers clearing the way for a final charge were superior to mass volleys and lines. On August 1, 1867, General U.S. Grant ordered the army to adopt Upton’s infantry tactics. In 1870, Lieutenant Colonel Upton began a five-year assignment at West Point. He served as Commandant of Cadets of the United States Military Academy from 1870-1875, lining up exactly with the family history and the date of
production for this revolver. At the end of the 1870s, Commanding General of the Army Lieutenant General William Tecumseh Sherman, knowing what he had in Upton, sent him on a grand world tour to survey major armies around the entire globe. Upton traveled overseas at Army expense to study the military systems of Japan, China, India, Russia, Italy, France, England, Persia, Austria-Hungary and Germany.
The resulting monumental text was Upton’s “The Armies of Asia and Europe” which includes his professional “conclusions” based on what he saw. As a battlefield tactician of proven success at regimental, brigade, and division level, he headed the post-war Army board that sought to learn lessons of the Civil War and convert them into new
infantry tactical doctrine.
In 1878, a joint committee of two U.S. senators and four U.S. congressmen, headed by Senator Ambrose Burnside, met to discuss reformation of the Army. Commander of the Army Sherman recommended Upton’s book
as the basis of that reform. Everyone on the committee favored Upton. However, the “Burnside Bill” for military reform was defeated in
Congress in 1879.
Upton did not give up and began working 9 hours a day writing his grand manifesto in response, a complete reorganization of the United States
As a newly commissioned Lieutenant of Artillery Upton aimed the first gun at the First Battle of Bull Run July 21, 1861
 lieutenant of artillery and in 1861 aimed
the first gun at the First Battle of Bull
Run. In the engagement that followed,
he was wounded in the left arm and side
and had a horse shot from under him but
refused to leave the field. He went on to distinguish

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