American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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Civil War Watches

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

A secret message discovered inside Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch
There has been a 150 year story floating around that Lincoln's pocket watch contained a secret message inscribed within it. This story was proved true when the watch was dismantled by curators at the National Museum of American History. The inscription was written by watchmaker Jonathan Dillon, and two parts of the inscription read: "Jonathan Dillon April 13 - 1861," and "Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date," and finally, "Thank God we have a government." The watchmaker had Lincoln's watch in his hands when he heard that the first shots of the Civil War had been fired.

Ornate silver watch belonged to the Confederate President
Did their ornate silver watch once tick in the pocket of Confederate President Jefferson Davis? A Medford couple, who paid a bundle for it at auction, believe it did and soon will head south to put it on display at the First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery. The watch's authenticity hangs on the tale of a cobbler, Robert Balfour, where Davis fled when bailed out of a Virginia prison two years after the Civil War. Davis was destitute and bartered the watch for a new pair of boots so goes the story, which was documented by descendants in the ensuing 140 years but not by Davis himself.

Civil War watches are very collectible
Only two watch companies were making watches during the American Civil War: The E. Howard Company and the Waltham Watch Company. Watches that were made during the Civil War are very collectible. Ordinarily they are called Civil War watches, but there are two categories that more correctly describe them. A Civil War period watch: a watch made during the war years. A Civil War watch: a watch that could be documented as being carried by a soldier during the same time period. Abraham Lincoln owned a Waltham William Ellery model pocket watch (serial number 67613, now on display at the Smithsonian Museum).