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1852 YALE LAW DIPLOMA CONFEDERATE SOLDIER ANTIETAM


 

                                                                                              Item # 1015
Description:
This is a fantastic piece of Civil War history.  It is a Bachelor of Law Diploma from Yale College, dated July 1, 1852, that was presented to William Thomas Marsh, a Confederate Officer who died as a result of his wounds during action in the Battle of Antietam.  The following is an excerpt from a book entitled, "The Hidden Treasure of Bath Town"  Bath, North Carolina: Friends of Historic Bath, 1978,  "William T. Marsh was born on July 21, 1830.  He graduated from Yale (Law) with honors and was a member of the North Carolina bar as well as a noted farmer.  In 1860, he represented Beaufort County in the Lower House of the General Assembly.  In May, 1861, Marsh was commissioned Captain
of the Pamlico Rifles, later assigned as Company I, Fourth Regiment North Carolina Confederate Infantry, before being fatally wounded at Antietam on September 17, 1862.  "He fell gallantly, leading his veteran regiment to battle and to victory.  He breathed his last 8 days thereafter in the home of strangers who yet soothed his final hours with their sympathy and kindness.  Though opposing secession with all the power of his intellect, yet when the storm came, he cheerfully laid himself upon the altar of sacrifice and bravely died for North Carolina.  The memories of such heroes are the richest legacies of history."

The Battle of Antietam is the bloodiest one day battle in American history.  23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862.  The battle ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

This diploma is written in latin and boldly signed by Theodore Dwight Woolsey, the President of Yale from 1846 to 1871.   It is also signed by S. R. Andrew (Samuel Rogers Andrew), the Secretary of Yale College from 1847 to 1854.  The portion of the document that was the standard diploma of Yale in the 1850's is in black ink, and the information that was specific for this particular diploma was entered in brown ink- nice!  
Condition:  Very Good, with three nail size bites present on the lower edge and one on the top edge from prior framing. The diploma is wrinkled throughout, as is common with old vellum documents.

Composition:  Light Vellum (probably sheep or calf skin)
 
Dimensions:  19 x 15 1/2 inches

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own an important piece of Confederate history from a distinguished Southern gentleman who was not only a man of letters but also a true hero and patriot who lost his life as an officer in one of the most important battles of the Civil War.

 
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