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(Below)  Documented death of Lieutenant Burnes having died of wounds received in battle on October 28, 1864.

   Boston Public Library - U.S. Army Military Registers, 1798-1969

(Left) Lieutenant Burnes's Oath of Office take in his commision to 2nd Lieutenant Co. L. 5th U.S. Artillery.

(Below)  Letter in the handwriting of Lieutenant Burnes accepting his commision to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

   NARA publication No. 1064 Letters Received by the Commission Branch      of the Adjutant General's Office, 1863-1870

Military History

  • Lieutenant Burnes enlisted on September 9, 1861 as a Private in US Army 5th Light Artillery Battery L
  • He was promoted to Sergeant and then to First Sergeant
  • On October 31, 1863 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant
  • On September 13, 1864 he transferred out of the 5th Light Artillery and into the 2nd Light Artillery
  • On October 27, 1864 Lieutenant Burnes was mortally wounded by a bullet at the Battle of Hatcher's Run while fighting with his Battery
  • October 28, 1864 Lieutenant Burnes died from his wound.
  • 1894 - Lieutenant Burnes name is placed on the West Point Memorial.
  • 1904 - Battery Burnes is on commissioned at Fort Totten, Totten Ilsand, New York


                                             Historical Data Systems, Inc.,

Enlistment Form & Declaration of Recruit

When Lieutenant Burnes signed this form in 1861 at age 25, he had no idea that he would be killed in battle three years later.

(Copy from the National Archives & Record Administration)

(Below) Beautifully etched and engraved blade on frosted background is a detailed spread winged eagle under "E Pluribus Unum" banner; also etched into a panoply of arms with liberty cap is the Latin motto "In hoc signo vinces"

"Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them"

                   George Eliot

"I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle, and have your name misspelled in the newspapers"

      - William Tecumseh Sherman

(How about your headstone?)

Battery B, 2nd U.S. Artillery located near Fair Oaks in 1862. 

                   ~ Library of Congress

One year to the month after the presentation of this sword, Lieutenant Burnes was to succumb to wounds received at the Battle of Hatcher's Run.

What makes this sword great
  • Detailed and traceable presentation to a mortally wounded officer
  • Presented to a "Regular"
  • Hunt & Goodwin only retailed swords from 1861 to 1865
  • Frosted Blade with unique etchings that include mottos on both sides of the blade
  • German silver grip with triple wire in place

  • Relief cast mounts with not commonly found middle mount and drag

  • Detailed and not commonly seen guard with eagle

How can we be sure from the sword presentation that this is Thomas C. Burnes who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Hatcher's Run October 27, 1864?
  • There is only one Burnes who served in Battery L of the 5th U.S. Artillery.
  • There is only one Burnes who transferred from Battery L of the 5th U.S. Artillery to the 2nd U.S. Artillery as 2nd Lieutenant.
  • There is only one Lieutenant Burnes in the 2nd U.S. Artillery who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Hatcher's Run.
  • We are extremely fortunate to have the report of Major John G. Hazard, Officer Commanding Artillery Brigade, in which he describes the specific event in which Lieutenant Burnes was hit.  October 26-28, 1864 (Battle of Hatcher's Run):

               "At his time Lieutenant Thomas Burnes was struck by a bullet while fighting his section.  The wound was mortal, and Lieutenant Burnes died during the night."

  • Further in the same report by Major Hazard.

                "The loss of Lieutenants Granger, Burnes, Metcalf, and Smith will be severely felt in the command. They were all experienced officers with more than their years' services.  Burnes and Metcalf were promoted from the ranks of the regular army for gallantry and meritorious conduct (note the presentation reflects Burnes as being a member of the ranks "whilst with them as their 1st Sergeant")Both fell in the faithful discharge of duty."


         Source: War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII Part 1

         (Serial No. 87) pp. 410-413, 1880-1901, Govt. Print. Off.


Headstone Inscription

(As I can make out)

"TO ??????"

Freemason symbol


(Note the missing "E", yet all other details are historically matching)

Battery L

5 th U.S. Artillery

Died from wounds received at the Battle of Hatcher's Run

Oct. 28, 1864

In the 28th year of

his age

The Lord hath claimed his son

Photo Courtesy of Joseph Canner - for more information on Lieutenant Burnes, please follow the link below.

Presentation To Lieutenant Burnes

High Grade Presentation Foot Officer's Sword

Hunt & Goodwin