The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Douglas swords - who is Henry B. Douglass?

Every now and then, I realise that there are sufficient articles on a topic to require a catalogue, and reorganisation of the layout of my files, which I hope will help researchers find what they are looking for.

Today, I have introduced a new section listing Douglas presentation swords.

Along the way, I often discover new articles on the same topic. One such was about the sword presented to Henry B. Douglass sometime after 1850.  He apparently served in the 84th New York Guards, No: 1 Company. The only Henry B. Douglass that I can find in that Regiment served as a private soldier in 1864.  Would he have been presented with a sword?

I can find a Henry B. Douglass (US Veteran, born 1845, died 31st March 1917) buried in Bath National Cemetery, Bath, Steuben County, New York. 

Can anyone help me identify Henry?

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Comment by James Douglass on October 29, 2015 at 19:14

This sword must have belonged to Henry B Douglass who served in the 84th NY, Co. I, during the civil war for 100 days in 1864.  He remained active in the national guard and he likely received the sword when promoted to second lieutenant in 1871.  Henry had a brother, James, who served for three years and saw action at Gettysburg and was with General Sherman on his march to the sea.  Henry, James and their other brothers were in the painting business in NYC for over 50 years.  Henry died at a veteran's home in upstate New York in 1917.  His papers list his next of kin as his nephew and my great grandfather, William Douglass of Elmhurst, Queens, NY.  Would love to purchase this sword!  I am lucky to have inherited a confederate bill that James picked up in Georgia with an inscribed note indicating its origin.

Comment by William Douglas on December 19, 2013 at 17:09

From New York State Military Museum:

1871 Report to the Adjutant General of New York; Henry B Douglas; Company I (letter, not number); 2Lt Sept. 29,1871; residence 694 Broadway, New York city

Comment by Michael P Mccann on December 8, 2013 at 15:34

I looked the town up it's right accross lake champlian from a bunch of small new york towns east of shelburn so it could be.. but i dobut it.. 

Comment by William Douglas on December 8, 2013 at 13:43

Thank you, Michael.


My geography and knowledge of those times (or lack of) does not help - but how likely is it someone from VT (Vermont?) would join a New York regiment?

Comment by Michael P Mccann on December 8, 2013 at 2:16
Comment by Michael P Mccann on December 8, 2013 at 1:46

william.. I have A intresting question  going thru a documentation  HENRY DOUGLAS, b. December 17, 1820, Williston, VT. son of daniel douglas and sarah messenger..  could this be the one? 

Comment by William Douglas on December 7, 2013 at 11:27

On 7 December 1861, the State of New York officially changed the regiment's designation from 14th Regiment (New York State Militia) to the 84th New York Volunteer Infantry (and its unit histories are sometimes found under this designation). But at the unit's request and because of the fame attained by the unit at First Bull Run, the United States Army continued to refer to it as the 14th.
The 14th Brooklyn received its nickname, the "Red Legged Devils", during the First Battle of Bull Run. Referring to the regiment's colorful red trousers as the regiment repeatedly charged up Henry House Hill, Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson yelled to his men, "Hold On Boys! Here come those red legged devils again!"

Comment by William Douglas on December 6, 2013 at 12:36

Could this be Henry Bates Douglass, son of Captain David Bates Douglas, himself the son of Nathaniel Douglass?

David's youngest son, Henry (ca.1825-1892), graduated from West Point in 1852 - in which case he was an officer.

My thanks to Julie and Joan for this bit of research.

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?


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