Filed under: Calendar Events
Tagged as: 10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, artifacts, Cincinnati (OH), Cincinnati Museum Center, exhibits, Hamilton County, Southwest Ohio, William Haines Lytle.
|February 6, 2010||to||May 16, 2010|
The Cincinnati Museum Center will host GOLD, an exhibit that “explores the splendor of the world’s most valued mineral.” According to CMC’s Mosaic magazine, the exhibit will allow visitors to “Follow gold from the molten depths of the Earth to glittering examples of jewelry and artifacts, from gold rushes that shaped the world to the modern pop culture baubles that mesmerize us today. You can experience firsthand the attraction of the finest gold specimens on Earth and learn how gold has been located, mined, processed and turned into objects both beautiful and useful.”
CMC’s presentation will also include gold artifacts unique to Cincinnati and this region. Of special interest to us Civil War students will be the magnificent gold medal presented to General William Haines Lytle by the officers of the 10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment. An elaborate gold cross, decorated with an emerald on a star of diamonds, was attributed to Tiffany & Company, New York. It was presented to General Lytle on 9 August 1863, just six weeks before his death at Chickamauga.
Lytle referred to the medal in a letter to his sister on 16 August: “I almost forgot to say that my cross was presented in due form a few days since by the officers of the 10th a delegation of whom came away down here [to Bridgeport AL] for the purpose. My old friend Major Halpin 15th Ky intended to write an account of the affair & publish it in the Commercial. I trust you may see it and may like the style of what I had to say. All present seemed to enjoy themselves hugely. A movement is again near at hand.” (from For Honor Glory & Union, edited by Ruth C. Carter, from Lytle’s letters at the Cincinnati Historical Society Library, pages 194-196.)
In Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga, Rick Baumgartner and Larry Strayer included a photograph of Lytle in uniform wearing the medal (page 65.) The photograph was taken at Bridgeport AL.
Whitelaw Reid’s biographical sketch of Lytle (Ohio in the War, Volume I, page 881) summarized the event: “A few weeks before the battle of Chickamauga Lytle’s old regiment, then on duty as head-quarters guard for General Rosecrans, presented him with an elegant testimonial of their regard, in the shape of a Maltese cross of gold, studded with diamonds and emeralds. The spot selected for the presentation was a most picturesque valley among the Alabama hills, and surrounded by his present and his old command, and by ladies, and officers of rank. The hero, with a graceful elegance so peculiarly his own, acknowledged the tribute.”
This medal is a stunning item, and a unique symbol of the respect and affection that the officers and men of the 10th OVI held for their former commander. If you have not seen it, make every effort to visit the exhibit at CMC between February 6 and May 16.
Location: Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203