AC2011-617.1 – Galt field chair

Camp Life for an Officer

Although we generally imagine Civil War soldiers in combat, they spent most their service in camp. This folding chair, which belonged to U. S. Captain James Galt, gives a small glimpse of camp life for an officer. It is made from painted wood, with a canvas seat and leather belt supports. Galt’s status as an officer is clearly denoted by his gold-painted name and rank on the back. Alongside him, the chair would have witnessed some of the Civil War’s most dramatic and tragic events.

Although a native Pennsylvanian, Galt was living in Whiteside, Illinois, when he enlisted and received commission to the Quartermaster’s Department. Often such work kept officers away from the front, but Galt worked in the field closer to the action. He served through the war and saw combat multiple times, including at Gettysburg and Chickamauga—two of the war’s largest and bloodiest battles.

Gift of David A. and Lana B. Arnold, 2011

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