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How much provenance is enough?

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I continue to go through my friend's house and wish to share with you one of the coolest pieces in the Civil War era collections. William S Wills graduated from the University of Richmond in 1860 in Chemistry and Natural Philosophy (today called Physics). His brother Fred was a Pharmacist and already had a store in Charlottesville and William was pursuing the same field. He went to University of Virginia for further education but left with the rest of his class in 1862 to join the Confederate forces. He joined Carrington's Company of the Charlottesville Light Artillery and was elected a Gunner. He would continue in this role until the Spring of 1863 when he was assigned to the Medical Detachment of Cutshaw's Artillery Battalion. As a gunner he would have taken part in the Battles of Port Republic, Seven Days, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg. I believe he was already a medical orderly by the Battles of Chancellorsville, 2nd Winchester, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania (where most of his original unit was captured). By 1864 he had been promoted to Hospital Steward and spent much of his time going between the front and Richmond or Petersburg to get supplies. In both his reminiscences of the war and his wartime diary he mentions his gunners bag and carrying supplies in it for the hospital. So that's the background. Problem is the house belonged to a genealogist and there are a number of different Civil War veterans in the several family's related. I believe that William Wills was the only one in the Artillery and more than half didn't come home so I believe given the history and documentation mentioning the bag that it is the one but without a name in the bag I cannot be 100% positive and don't know how the provenance would translate to the collecting market. First thing, let's see what you all think of the bag itself. Can this positively be called a Civil War gunners bag? It is different from one's I could find online but figuring it is Confederate is probably hand made at the local saddle shop.













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Really neat piece and interesting story. I don’t know anything about gunner’s bags but do know a little about the construction of other Civil War pieces and it looks right for the period to me.


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Here I am going through this box of Civil War stuff and wouldn't you know it, less than an hour after I asked about the gunner bag I found the provenance lol


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