Metal and leather
Belt: 2 × 3.3 × 1.2 in. (5.2 × 8.4 × 3 cm) Buckle: 2.2 × 3.3 × 3.1 in. (5.5 × 8.5 × 8 cm) Scabbard: 2 × 0.5 × 2.6 in. (5.1 × 1.4 × 6.5 cm) Pouch: 3.8 × 3.7 × 1.3 in. (9.7 × 9.5 × 3.3 cm)
On view in The Impact of the Bible, Bible in America
This belt, buckle, scabbard, and percussion cap pouch belonged to Pvt. George R. Rome, one of nearly 180,000 African Americans to fight for the Union Army during the Civil War. Rome was born in 1835 to free African American parents living in Providence, Rhode Island. He later moved to Worcester, Massachusetts. When the Civil War began in 1861, he and other African Americans were initially denied enlistment. However, the US government reversed its policy in 1863. Rome eventually joined the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, participating in several campaigns, including Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. He survived the war and died in 1900. This equipment is part of a small collection of his items in the museum’s care, including his pocket New Testament.
Created in the 1860s on behalf of the United States government; Ownership assumed in 1864 by George R. Rome, Massachusetts. Acquired by an anonymous collector, United States; Consigned in 2010 to Swann Auction Galleries, New York; Acquired in 2010 by Seth Kaller, Inc., White Plains, New York; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.
Notes:  This equipment, along with other items related to Rome’s service, were consigned to auction at Swann Auction Galleries in 2010. The collection went unsold. A representative from Swann was unable to provide further information about the seller. See Swann Galleries, New York, Printed & Manuscript African Americana, February 25, 2010, Lot 281 (email from Swann Auction Galleries to Museum of the Bible, June 4, 2019).
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