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Civil War Union Officer's Trunk

In Military and Wartime > Civil War > Show & Tell and Furniture > Trunks > Show & Tell.
Trunks1852 of 1886Goyard Wicker TrunkCivil War Valise (hand trunk)
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Posted 7 years ago


(32 items)

I've collected trunks of many types for almost 40 years and while it's not too fancy this is one of my favorites because of it's history. This small trunk was owned and used by Capt. Laffer S. Caples, who led Company D, 70th Battalion of the Ohio National Guard from Tuscarawas County which became part of the 161st Ohio Volunteer Infantry in May of 1864. They fought with the Army of the Potomac and served in Cumberland, MD, Martinsburg, WV, Staunton and Lexington and defended a supply train for General Hunter. The trunk is marked on the side with Capt. L. Caples, Co. D 70. Batt N.G. Capt. Caples is listed as leading Company E. of the newly formed 161st Ohio Volunteers.
The trunk measures only 22" wide and 14" tall and has iron bands with large brass studs. The wood was covered with a thick paper made to look like leather when new. These rounded shape trunks were usually called Jenny Lind trunks, named after her during the 1850's but the style was popular through the 1860's. Most people assume that small trunks like this were only used by children or ladies, but this proves that even an army officer would use this style. I saw a much larger trunk of this style a museum in Nashville, TN once, which was owned by a confederate general. The more elaborate models of these trunks had fancy tooled leather, brass banding and ornately trimmed interiors. Through geneology searches I was able to find the family history of Capt. Caples and that his father was a drummer in the war of 1812. His unusual first name was his grandmother's last name.


  1. YardSaleDave, 7 years ago
    Great story Trunker, I have a Span-Am war trunk that is also stenciled with it's owners name. I googled the name and found a newspaper article relating to him where he is boarding the ship going off to war. I printed the article and have it attached to the trunk. It's the histories of these old items that I find the most interesting.
  2. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
    I agree, that is great to find information like that. Thanks.
  3. antiquesareamazing antiquesareamazing, 6 years ago
    I love the bugle in the left image!!
  4. Jacob , 6 years ago
    I am looking for some information on a trunk I bought a at flea market. It has the name Cpl. W. Hinman Youngstown Ohio, with 2 crossed cannons in the corners. Also has the numbers 135 or 136 above the cannons. The only information I have so far is that it may have belonged to a W. Hinman from the Civil War. Any help as to who it may have belonged to and the worth would be greatly appreciated.
  5. Lintz, 5 years ago
    This would have belonged to our great, great grand father. Can't believe my sister found this while looking up info about our genealogy. Thanks for preserving and treasuring this trunk . Exciting to see it.
  6. VanessaT, 3 years ago
    Your collection is beautiful. I love these trunks. I understand why this is your favourite, I collect puzzle boxes and my favourite is an old broken one because of its history.
  7. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 3 years ago
    Thanks for the comments and loves everyone. I'm very slow responding, sorry about that. Marvin
  8. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 3 years ago
    Lintz, that's amazing that this would have belonged to your g-g-grandfather! Please contact me again if you can... Thanks!

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