To All Whom it May Concern, Know Ye, that Edwin A. Collins, a Musician of the Fifth Regiment of Band… (Civil War Discharge Paper)
The 1862-dated discharge paper for Edwin A. Collins (b.1819), a forty-three year-old shoemaker-turned-musician and native of Salem County, New Jersey. Collins was one of eleven musicians, all privates, who comprised the band for the 5th New Jersey Volunteers. The band was directed by Harry G. Frankenfield. Frankenfield had founded the Salem [New Jersey] Cornet Band (1860) and by October of 1861 he had raised the Regiment’s band in Trenton. The musical ensemble mustered out in August of 1862. (John Hayward)
Collins’s discharge is autographed by Samuel Henry “Old Paddy” Starr, seen here as a Colonel of the 5th Regiment. Starr was a vulgar and highly-volatile old-guard dragoon. A strict disciplinarian, he was known among his subordinates as “Old Nose Bag.” If a soldier transgressed, Starr had the offender tied and straddled to a fence with his face strapped into a horse’s nose bag. (Faded Hoofbeats – Samuel H. “Old Paddy” Starr 6th US Cavalry online)
Collins was mustered out at Harrison Landing, Virginia, “Given at Camp near Alexandria”, Virginia by Lieutenant S. Lee Perkins (and autographed by Perkins) and he is described as having light complexion, black eyes and black hair. On the verso of Collins’s discharge it is recorded that received $40.66 in pay on October 31, 1862.
Details of Collins’s civilian life, before and after the War, have eluded us. We do not find him recorded in state or federal census records.
Description: To All Whom it May Concern, Know Ye, that Edwin A. Collins, a Musician of the Fifth Regiment of Band… (Civil War Discharge Paper)
Govt. Print. Office, May 15, 1861. 8½ x 11 inches. Vignette of the American eagle. Paper losses, primarily confined to margins, although at places affecting one printed word and one handwritten word; usual folds; fair condition.