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Foreword

How time does fly! It has been nearly fifty years since I started wearing out my copy of William A. Albaugh's Confederate Arms, just leafing through and gazing at all those Confederate weapons, leather accouterments, canteens, belt buckles, etc. I knew as I was flipping through those pages that I would never own most of them, but a young collector (indeed, all collectors), are entitled to dream. Sometimes, those dreams come true!

Every few years I would take a much-anticipated trip to The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. Back in those days, the museum was still the old-fashioned kind, with artifacts piled high inside wooden showcases. Today's modern version offers far fewer artifacts and a whole lot of social history. One is tempted to wish for the "old days," but what is past is gone. We must instead look forward to both the present and the future age of Collecting the Confederacy, just as collectors who have come and gone before us have done, including A. E. Brooks, Richard Steuart, Claude Fuller, William Albaugh, Beverly DuBose, Sydney Kerksis, and Edgar Howell, just to mention a few. To all these men we owe so much for bringing all of us to the present "Golden Age" of both collecting and researching Confederate Memorabilia.

Most of what these early collectors saved has been passed down to our current stewardship, and much of their original research has withstood the test of time. New artifacts that have come to light and later research has confirmed, enlarged, and in some cases, corrected, the original ideas of these men.

What William A. Albaugh, III, did in the 1950s in Confederate Arms, Shannon Pritchard has taken to a higher level with Collecting the Confederacy. This wonderful new book is based upon his experience as a fulltime Confederate memorabilia dealer and researcher. Within these pages, Shannon shares with all of us some of the fruits of his hard work, good fortune, and perseverance. Much of interest is to be found within these pages, including his once-in-a-lifetime find: the sword presented to General J. E. B. Stuart by his chief of staff, Major Heros Von Borke, and how Shannon established its impeccable provenance by determined research.

Collecting the Confederacy exposes the reader to the remarkable world of Confederate militaria. It does so with a stunning array of photographs and text that includes the personal history of some of the artifacts and their original owners. Anyone who believes this is "just another picture book" could not be more mistaken. Jammed within these pages is much new information in the form of documented facts and well-reasoned opinions based upon Shannon's experienced observations. Future research by others will confirm many of his conclusions, and perhaps correct a few-such is life, my friend! There is a very basic rule in collecting: "Always keep an open mind, but don't be gullible!" because new and different artifacts will continue to come out of attics across the country, and new documentation and seasoned opinions will be found and offered.

Collecting the Confederacy replaces Albaugh's time-honored Confederate Arms as the most definitive, single-volume treatment on collecting Confederate arms and equipment. A book like this has been long overdue, and everyone even remotely interested in this field owes Shannon a debt of gratitude for the information and the enjoyment each of us will glean from the pages that follow.

So sit back in a comfortable easy chair, dear reader, and begin your dream trip into the land of Collecting the Confederacy.