|Description and Photograph||
The canteen shown here was carried by Major Lemuel H. Hall. The 31-year-old Mississippian stood 5’8”, had dark hair, dark eyes and a dark complexion when he enlisted in W.J. Boon’s Company, which became the Desoto Greys, Company D, 1st Mississippi Volunteers. He enlisted as a 1st Lieutenant on August 27, 1861 at Iuka, Mississippi, but did not stay a line officer very long. Lieutenant Hall’s prewar occupation was that of a physician, so he was appointed to rank as a surgeon on September 19, 1861.
Major Hall was surrendered with his command at Fort Donelson on February 16, 1862 and is listed on a roll of the wounded aboard the U.S. Steamer Chancellor then on its way to the prisoner of war camp at Mound City, Illinois. At the Mound City prison, he was admitted to the hospital on February 22, 1862 and remained in the prison hospital (probably working as a doctor in the later months) until paroled June 3, 1862. On June 3rd Hall gave his parole of honour to Major General Henry Halleck that he would exchange himself for a Federal Surgeon of equal rank, or return to the prison by June 25, and Halleck on the same date wrote a letter of “safe guard” for the doctor to return to the Confederacy. No further record is found pertaining to the doctor’s agreement with Halleck, but as he was a well-respected gentleman, it is presumed that he fulfilled his obligation.
The 1st Mississippi’s January & February 1863 muster roll shows that the good doctor was absent while serving as Brigade Surgeon. We find him mentioned in the records of the 9th and 20th Mississippi Infantries and the 22nd Tennessee Cavalry, but with little information.
The doctor married a DeSoto County Belle in 1853; she bore his namesake in 1861 and presented him with a daughter in 1864. In all, the Hall’s had eight children. After the War the doctor returned to his family in DeSoto. By 1875 the Hall family was living in Prairie, Arkansas. In 1888, his son, and namesake, was killed in a freak accident when the car he was riding in fell through a trestle and killed several riders. At the time of the accident Dr. Hall was residing in Little Rock, Arkansas. The following year the doctor passed away on September 23rd, a much beloved high ranking mason and respected member of the community and is buried in the Lonoke Cemetery.
Major Hall’s canteen is the perfect Confederate canteen. The canteen is as tight as a drum, the strap is literally perfect, in fact it is the strongest Confederate canteen strap that I have ever seen. Even the original carved wooden stopper remains because it is still tied to the canteen’s strap with its original cord! The canteen’s spout has a lead seal that is completely original and intact.
The carving is neat and deep enough to be easily legible and includes his name, rank and the “magic” letters C.S.A! On the opposite side, the Major signed the canteen in ink, “LH Hall Surgeon” which matches his signature on official documents.
If you have the finest collection, or only want one "perfect" example, this is the best.