After protests, skull of Civil War soldier withdrawn from auctio - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

After protests, skull of Civil War soldier withdrawn from auction

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. -

After pointed criticism, the skull of a Civil War soldier has been withdrawn from a public auction. It has been donated and will likely be buried with honors at the national memorial park in Gettysburg, Pa.

Here’s how the story went down: In arranging an estate sale for an area family, veteran auctioneer Tom Taylor came across a most unusual artifact: a human skull – probably from a fallen soldier from the three-day battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Taylor, who operates the Estate Auction Company, in Hagerstown, Md., explained that they found the skull while surveying items in the basement of an area family.

“They said that their great-grandfather had found it while he was tilling up a garden on the Benner Farm in Gettysburg,” Taylor told us. “And so, when [the skull was found], they didn’t know what to do with it (in 1949), so they just put it in a box. And [it] was in the basement.”

The family told the auctioneer to sell the skull, so Tom Taylor put photos of it online. That’s when the storm of protests began.

Even though the Civil War was fought 150 years ago, it was America’s bloodiest conflict, and many people objected to the sale of a soldier’s skull. Critics bombarded the auction company and the hotel at which the auction was scheduled.

Taylor told us: “We actually had a guy riding around in a pickup truck with a POW flag and a United States flag. And he was like, ‘Boycott the auction!’”

Managers of the hotel where the auction was scheduled confirmed to us they too were getting pointed – even threatening – calls and visits about selling the skull of a Civil War soldier.

The auctioneer and hotel managers contacted the family and convinced them to donate the skull to the Gettysburg Foundation. A representative of the non-profit historical group picked up the skull Monday evening.

Civil War re-enactor Jim Hendricks came to the auction to express his gratitude for the decision to not sell the skull.

“The soldiers of the Civil War fought out of a sense of duty and honor. And they gave their lives and served for those principles,” Hendricks declared.

A proposed boycott of the auction was called off. The other items in the estate were sold.

After the skull is authenticated, it will be buried at Soldiers Cemetery at Gettysburg with full military honors, according to a spokeswoman for the national military park.


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