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In the world of Civil War Artifacts Collecting, this might be one of the most Iconic artifacts ever offered for sale in terms of its association with the greatest battle of that struggle, GETTYSBURG. The westernmost ridge temporarily separated the opposing forces. As Hoffman reached the crest of the middle ridge, he saw a line of battle approaching far to his right and 'just rising to the crest of the swell west of the one we were on.' Brigadier General Cutler, in a letter to Pennsylvania's Governor Curtain, later described the moment. "The atmosphere being a little thick [smoke form the cavalry skirmish]. I took out my glasses to examine the enemy. Being a few paces in the rear of Colonel Hoffman, he turned to me an inquired 'Is that the enemy?' My reply was 'Yes". Turning to his men he commanded 'Ready, right oblique, aim, fire!', and the Battle of Gettysburg was opened.". His military history is as follows; With the outbreak of civil war in April 1861, Hofmann was quick to offer his services to his country. Less than a week after the capitulation of Fort Sumter, Hofmann was mustered into service as a captain in the three-month 23rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The 23rd spent most of its time in service in the Shenandoah Valley, serving under General Robert Patterson, but seeing no substantial action. In the summer of 1861, after having been mustered out of the 23rd Pennsylvania, Hofmann helped raise and organize the 56th Pennsylvania, a three-year unit, and in October he reentered service as the regiment’s lieutenant-colonel. Remaining at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg for the next six months, the 56th then traveled south to Virginia but did not see any major combat until the Second Battle of Bull Run, fought during the final days of August 1862. Here, in their baptism by fire, the men of the 56th sustained heavy losses, including its colonel, Sullivan Meredith, who fell gravely wounded on the first day’s battle. After Meredith’s wounding, command of the regiment devolved upon Hofmann. With George McClellan’s reorganization of the Army of the Potomac in early September 1862, the 56th Pennsylvania formed part of General Abner Doubleday’s brigade, in John Hatch’s First Corps division. Hofmann continued at the helm of his regiment until the September 14, 1862, battle at South Mountain. As the 56th entered the battle late in the day, Hofmann saw division commander John Hatch being carried to rear, seriously wounded. Command of the division then fell upon Doubleday, who, in turn, handed command of his brigade over to its senior colonel, William Wainwright of the 76th New York. After Wainwright fell wounded just a short time later, Hofmann assumed command of the brigade, which he commanded three days later at Antietam. Crossing the Antietam Creek on the afternoon of September 16, Hofmann’s brigade took up position on the extreme right of the First Corps line. Early the following morning, as Doubleday’s division advanced south along the Hagerstown Turnpike and engaged Stonewall Jackson’s men in the West Woods and the Cornfield, Hofmann’s men were held in reserve, with orders to support the First Corps artillery. They remained in this position for most of the day, and as a result, suffered little loss. Indeed, total casualties in Hofmann’s brigade at the battle of Antietam numbered just ten men wounded. Two months following the battle of Antietam, on November 11, 1862, Hofmann reassumed command of the 56th Pennsylvania upon the return of Colonel Wainwright, who had recovered from his South Mountain wound. At the battle of Fredericksburg, Hofmann’s regiment was only lightly engaged, suffering few casualties. In January 1863 Hofmann was at last promoted to the rank of colonel, after having led a regiment and even a brigade at the rank of lieutenant-colonel since August 1862. Again held in reserve at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Hofmann’s shining moment of the war came two months later at Gettysburg. Leading the advance of the First Corps on July 1, Hofmann’s men were the first Union infantry on the field and the first to open fire on the advancing legions of Confederate troops under Generals Heth and Pender. In the desperate fighting near the Railroad Cut, Hofmann’s regiment lost 130 men killed, wounded, and missing, 52% of its total number. On July 25, 1863, Colonel Hofmann was ordered to his hometown of Philadelphia with orders to help oversee the implementation of the draft in the city, but was back with his regiment in time to participate in the Mine Run Campaign that fall. During the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, Hofmann saw action at the battle of the Wilderness, where his regiment again sustained severe loss, and at Spotsylvania. Following the latter battle, Hofmann was again elevated brigade command. Throughout the summer and fall of 1864, Hofmann led his brigade during the North Anna Campaign, and on the initial assaults at Petersburg. At the battle of Weldon Railroad on August 18, Hofmann’s brigade turned in a distinguished performance and by the end of the day had captured three Confederate battle flags. Although brevetted brigadier general of volunteers on August 1, 1864, for “brave, constant, and efficient services in the battles and marches of the campaign,” Hofmann still held the rank of colonel. After seeing further action at Hatcher’s Run and at Pegram’s Fall in the late summer of 1864, Hofmann tendered his resignation from the army on March 7, 1865, and returned to his home in Philadelphia. Little is known of Hofmann’s post-war career. It is assumed that he returned to his business, which, during his time in the army, was managed by his wife, Margaretta. He did remain active in military affairs, serving for four years as a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Colonel Hofmann died in his seventy-eighth year, on March 5, 1902. He was buried in Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery. This magnificent sword is in excellent condition as are most of the accessories. The hilt has a Roman Soldier statued in a shroud of Gold Gilt foilage. The pommel is surrounded with diamond studs and a spread-winged Eagle caps the pommel. The blade is gold gilt Damascus and housed in a solid silver scabbard with a spectacular presentation inscription dated June of 1863 on one side and battle honors on the other, the battles of Beverly Ford and Gettysburg being added to the lower edge. The box is marked with Hoffman's name and unit in India ink on its bottom and their is a presentaion paper inside the case. The case also contains service medals of Hoffman as well as those of his son for service in the Spanish-Amercican War, sword knot, pearl-handled dirk, gold-gilt Eagle-head spurs in their form-fitted compartments complete with straps, 2 sword sashes, one for Colonel and one for General as well as a belt for each rank. In addition, there are two small flags that adorned Hoffman's coach during the Centennial of the Constitution Parade in Philadelphia as well as his inscribed baton from that occassion where he was Chief-of-Staff of the proceedings. All contents are recorded with a notarized letter from the family descendants to complete this set. Simply outstanding.

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