Sunday, September 16, 2018

W. Britain 17292 - 140th Pennsylvania.

Uncommon valor at Gettysburg.

This 2001 three-piece set from W. Britains depicts Lieutenant James Jackson Purman and Sergeant James Milton Pipes struggling to carry a wounded comrade to safety during the Wheatfield fight on July 2, 1863.

Lieutenant Purman's account:

"When we emerged from the woods and were about to retreat across the wheat field, the only man of my company whom I could see was Sergeant J.M. Pipes.At this moment we came across a comrade whom I did not know, wounded badly in the legs. He cried out 'Comrades carry me off!' I replied that we could not do that as the enemy was too close upon us, but we immediately noticed two rocks nearby suitable for protection from the enemy's fire, and I said to the Sergeant 'come help me and I will him between these rocks.'  With the assistance from the Sergeant , I carried him and placed him between the rocks in  an apparent place of safety. I remained with him long enough to straighten out his limbs and take his hands and say 'good bye. But this delay of a few minutes caused the enemy to gain upon me so much that it proved fatal to my intention of crossing the wheat field and reaching our reserves on the opposite side.  Within a few yards of me the enemy called out 'Halt you damned yankee, halt!'. I did not obey his command and in consequence , a few moments later received a gunshot wound to my left leg below the knee, crushing both bones, and fell instantly to the ground, the enemy charging over me.  Sergeant Pipes was also wounded in the legs.  Unable to crawl off, I lay on the field all night and the next day between the fires of both armies.  About the middle of the afternoon July 3rd I received a second gunshot wound passing through my right leg.  Some time after this I was carried within the Confederate lines by Lieutenant Thomas P. Oliver, of the 24th Georgia and was given a canteen of water and placed in the edge of the woods under the shade of the trees.

As a result of the wounds, my left leg was amputated on the morning of July 4th and the strength and movement of my right leg was impaired.  

Since the war, I have ascertained that the unknown comrade who's life I tried to save was John Buckley, of Company B, and that he died from loss of blood and exposure before help could reach him."

For their gallantry, Purman and Pipes were awarded the Medal of Honor.


Both Pipes and Purman are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sergeant James Milton Pipes

Lieutenant James Jackson Purman

John Buckley - the wounded comrade.

See you next time with more toy soldier action.

Soldier on!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Americana toy soldiers II, Redcoats

God save the King!

Welcome back for a second go around of these charming Americana toy soldiers, this time featuring British Redcoats of the American Revolution.

I gave the deep background for Americana soldiers a while back (which you can see here).
You can find these guys at just about any Civil War or colonial-era historical site, and these I picked up at Fort Frederick in Maryland as well as Salem Mass.

(Fort Frederick, Washington county, Maryland)

Regular readers of this blog know that I collect all makes of toy soldiers (almost all American Civil War); from low-end BMC to the very pricey W. Britains.  You may scoff, but out of all of them, I think that these glossy little men from Americana are my all-time favorites...what can I say?  To quote my friend and fellow toy soldier enthusiast Scott Lesch: "I like the things I like."

So here's the text-free walk around of these neat and glossy 54mm redcoats:

See you next time; until then...

Soldier on!


Monday, September 10, 2018

Cover your ears! Britain's cannoneers!

These two little guys, purchased on ebay complete my collecting of batterymen for battery B 4th US artillery.  Now I'm acquiring W. Britains Iron Brigade men.  These two units provided mutual support during the early morning hours of September 17, 1862 in the battle of Antietam.

Here's a little video I did a few years ago of some artillery action at Antietam National Battlefield where it was my privilege to have been a park ranger for the best eight years of my career (so far!):

These figures manufactured in 2002, are numbered 166 on the left and 165 on the right.

Regular readers may note that my postings of late have been focusing on Britains rather than plastics, my conversions, or my original pewter castings.  The only unit of my own creation that remains to be completed is the 3rd South Carolina Infantry Battalion as it appeared at the Battle of Gettysburg when it faced off with the good old 3rd Michigan at the Peach Orchard (you can see my hand-cast and mostly unique Wolverines of the Old Third here).

The 3rd SC at the Peach Orchard was comprised of 232 rebels, of which I have 90 painted and many more cast.  I think it'll be another three or four years before the project is complete...the 3rd Michigan took eighteen years to finish.  Patience is a virtue in the world of homecasting. 

Otherwise I've started buying store-bought soldiers, Britains specifically, and it's all due to the efforts of president Franklin D. Roosevelt.  You see, high-end toy soldiers that were out of my reach previously, are now being bank-rolled thanks to the miracle of my hard-won Social Security checks, which I started getting three months ago.  Thanks FDR!

I've been getting my Britains from several sources including, Crown Military Miniatures, Treefrog Treasures, and W. Britains themselves (now under the stewardship of Ken Osen),  and of course, ebay. It's been exciting seeing those scarlet and gold boxes arrive in the mail (my wife says "Oh boy, another candy box").  

Though many consider W. Britains figures "miniatures"  I think that I've been pretty clear in the past, that any little man that joins the ranks in my house is a "toy soldier", to do battle with even the cheapest plastics in the combat that takes place on my toy soldier table (which you can see here).

Ringing in the ears and hearing loss in later life, were things that were typical of Civil War artillery veterans.  In those days before high-tech industrial ear protection, the best that a batteryman could do was to stuff his ears with cotton batting, or simply cover his ears as these 54mm guys are.  More often than not, however, they just had to grimace and bear it.

Recent entries to this blog have contrasted the level of detail in the of  a decade or more ago to those of  today.  This 2002 figure has a level of detail that seems quite rudimentary compared to those of recent years; though one thing that I really like about the earlier ones are the rosey cheeks...something that typifies all of my homemade guys.

Although sculpted in the United States, final assembly and painting take place in China (see my previous post for a sobering look at the Chinese toy industry).

These two little fellows are much welcomed to the toy soldier table and will be ready for action later this year when I stage their moment of glory at Antietam.

Until next time...

Soldier on!