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Record 203/294
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Description Black rubberized water-proof blanket constructed of canvas cloth and vulcanised rubber coating on one side; brass grommets around edges. Stamped within ovals in red ink: (1st oval) "MANUFACTURED/BY/THE PHOENIX RUBBER CO/ LICENSED BY; (2nd oval) UNION INDIA RUBBER CO./EXCLUSIVE/MANUFACTURERS/GOODYEARS PATENT/DEC 25TH 1849/EXTENDED 1858/NEW YORK; (3rd oval) CONTRACT; (4th oval) FEB 4 1865." The army first issued rubber blankets to infantry in November 1861. They could be used as a covering from rain or as a ground cloth to sleep on in the field.
According to correspondence received from Civil War researcher and author Frederick Gaede, "Phoenix Rubber Company was listed both in NYC and in Naugatuck, CT with Warren Ackerman as president and Halsbed C. Burnet as secretary. They had numerous contracts from November 1862 until February 1865 for "vulcanised India rubber ponchos" and "vulcanised India rubber blankets." This piece was part of a contract for 100,000 of the latter dated February 4, 1865 for delivery to the New York QMD Depot. The contract price was $4.69 each. (This comes from our compilation of QMD contracts in the 2nd Auditor's files in Treasury Dept records, National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 217, Entry 236, Box 52. These are in Beltsville, MD.) During the fall of 1864 the QMD got a bit stricter about requiring the contract date be on pieces...[This example] complied with the updated 'specifications.'"

James F. Sawyer listed his residence as Gibraltar, Door County when he enlisted there on Mar. 28, 1864. He was assigned as a private in Company K, 21st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at Savannah, Georgia. He was transferred as unassigned to the 3rd (reorganized) Regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry on June 8, 1865 and was mustered out on July 18, 1865. James was listed in the veteran section of the 1885 Wisconsin State census at P.O. Omro, Winnebago County. He was a charter member of GAR Post #7 at Omro and was the namesake of that post. Nancy E., his widow, was listed in the 1890 federal census as residing in the town of Omro at P.O. Omro. She provided his unit designation as above and information that he had suffered a bullet wound to his neck during his military service. He is buried with a simple military marker. Nancy was born on Feb. 26, 1830 and died on June 5, 1905. She was listed in 1905 as his widow and was then residing at 201 Exchange Street in the village of Omro. Both are buried at Omro Cemetery, Olin's Addition, Section A, plot 8.
Dimensions W-44 L-72 inches
Year Range from 1865
Event Civil War
Year range to 1865
Made The Phoenix Rubber Company/Union India Rubber Company
Material Cotton/Rubber/Brass
Object ID 1086-1-T5
Object Name Blanket
People Sawyer, James F.
Used Sawyer, James F.
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009