HARRISBURG – The skull of a Civil War soldier and military relics found near the Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, U.S., battlefield are scheduled to be sold at auction. Thomas Taylor, the auctioneer, said on Tuesday in Harrisburg that though the sale was to the dismay of some historians, but they were hoping to sell the skull for between 50,000 dollars to 250,000 dollars to a private collector or museum.
He said the skull was found in 1949 on a private land near Benner’s Farm, site of a Confederate field hospital, by someone tilling a garden. Taylor said the breastplate found nearby came from a Louisiana unit of the Confederate Army, he said.
He said the seller, who made the find was remaining anonymous, but stressed that the skull was deemed authentic because of where it was found and the relics discovered around it.
Taylor said the “Battle of Gettysburg’’, which lasted three days in 1863, was often described as the turning point of the Civil War. He said more than 164, 000 troops from both sides participated in it, and that more than 45,000 were left dead, wounded or missing.
Katie Lawhon, sSpokeswoman, Gettysburg National Military Park, said she would have loved to see the skull interred with full military honors in Soldiers National Cemetery, which President Abraham Lincoln dedicated with his famous Gettysburg Address. She said the auction was very unfortunate, expressing the hoe that the sale does not violate federal law, provided the skull was found outside the 1949 boundaries of the park.
“Our mission at Gettysburg is to respect the memory of those who fought and died,” she said.
Wayne Motts, Chief Executive of the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania said the auction was not appropriate.
He said there are still undiscovered soldier remains at Gettysburg, therefore the entire battlefield should be treated as a sacred burial ground.
Neither Lawhon nor officials at two Civil War museums said they had heard of any similar auction of a Civil War soldier’s remains, and each of them said they would not participate. (Reuters/NA