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Civil War still rages: Attempt to sell dead soldier's skull retracted

Even though the American Civil War officially ended in 1865, repercussions of that bloody war are still being felt and fought over. Most battles are thankfully only battles of words, but they keep the war alive by reminding us what happened during those four years of battle almost 150 years ago.

Lincon at Gettsburg, Penn.
Library of Congress

One of these after-shock type battles was fought over the attempted sale of a human skull that was found near Benner's Farm in 1949. This location is near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The location had been a Confederate field hospital during the civil war. It is unknown who the skull belonged to; however, a breastplate was found near the same location and it was determined that it belonged to a soldier from a Louisiana unit.

According to reports in Reuters, an auction company had planned to sell the skull at auction, with the hopes that it would bring between $50.000 and $250,000 dollars. The auction company said they were trying to auction it for an anonymous seller. They were hoping it would be purchased by a museum or a collector.

After hearing the pros and cons of auctioning off the human skull, Thomas Taylor of Estate Auction Company, recommended to the estate which owned the skull to donate it to the National Park Service. When the Gettysburg National Military Park received the skull, they in turn donated it to the Gettysburg Foundation. Both entities plan to work with the Smithsonian Institute to make sure the skull is authentic. If the skull proves to be authentic, it will be buried with full military honors.

It is wonderful that everyone involved saw the need to give the soldier a proper burial after almost 150 years. He had given his life for a cause he believed in, and it a was very considerate gesture for the owners of the skull and the auction company to give it up without another fight. Be sure to watch the video about the skull in this article.

If you enjoy Civil War articles, subscribe to these free articles written by Gerry Glenn Jones for the Examiner. Subscriptions are free, and are easy to set up. Click on the subscribe link near the top of this page, and remember, "Keep your spirits high and your powder dry!"

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