16 April 2010

What Is It?


















Yes, it is WBTS related.


14 comments:

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

We've had one guess. No, it is not an out house.

Michael Aubrecht said...

Is it the Hunley?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

No Michael, it is not. Good guess though.

Chaps said...

A coffin with a port for viewing the face?

The Warrior said...

I'm pretty sure it's part of a ship...the bow deck? Something like that? Or is it the stern?

Spencer

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Spencer - no, sorry but, again, a good guess.

Chaps - you are correct! More details to come soon. How'd you know?

Chaps said...

Somewhere around here I have a monograph on funeral practices during the WBTS. I remembered reading about these.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Chaps:

This is the same type that Stonewall Jackson was transported in. Based on what I've been told, these types of coffins were not used to bury the dead, just for transportation. They held ice in a fashion similar to coolers and had drains at the bottom so the melted ice could be drained off. I'll post some additional info about this specific one soon.

cenantua said...

I should have made my guess earlier. I was leaning in it being a porthole in a view casket, but wasn't entirely sure.

Another method of preserving the body in transportation was to use a charcoal system. I've never seen how it worked, but have heard of them.

I had a classmate at W&M who specialized in Victorian era death practices. I never thought to ask her about the charcoal systems.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert - I was not aware of the charcoal system. Interesting. This particular coffin was allegedly used by a Union General. I'll post the details soon, along with some more detailed photos.

Michael Lynch said...

Richard, you might get a kick out of some family lore--not my direct family, but my family by marriage on my mom's side. One of my uncle's direct ancestors and his wife were both buried in glass-topped coffins on the farm where his family has lived for seven generations. They got the land for service in the War of 1812, and the son of the couple who are buried in the glass-topped coffins was a Confederate soldier. Every firstborn male born in his line since the war has been named for Robert E. Lee. (They're on the fifth Robert now.)

My uncle keeps his Confederate ancestor's field glasses and the Bible he carried during the war in his study. They're sitting on top of a table that Gen. George Morgan used when he stopped here for breakfast on his way to capture Cumberland Gap from the Confederates. He got his food, but the lady of the house made it pretty clear that northern soldier's weren't particularly welcome, and told them to eat at their own risk. The museum where I worked has Morgan's original handwritten report of the Gap's capture in its collection, and it mentions a stop at the family's farm, which is an odd coincidence.

Anyway, I'm actually visiting my uncle's house as we speak, and I'm sitting in his study as I type this, facing that very table.

--ML

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael:

That is quite interesting. My understanding is that these coffins were quite expensive. Perhaps there were glass-topped ones without the ice-cooling capabilities intended for transportation.

"eat at their own risk." That's funny. Thanks for sharing the family story!

RGW

PS: Excellent namesake tradition - do carry on! ;o)

MSimons said...

There is a metal glass face coffin at the CW museum in Franklin Tenn.

Nice find that is the first wood one I have seen.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Mike. This one is at the Chaplains Museum. More soon.