Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sale of Gettysburg soldier's skull called off

An auction house canceled the sale of a Civil War soldier’s skull after outrage grew over the plans, according to Gettysburg National Military Park, which announced the remains will be laid to rest at the national cemetery there.

The Gettysburg Foundation late Monday accepted the donation of the skull from auctioneer Tom Taylor of Estate Auctions of Hershey, Pa., the park announced Tuesday.

“The Gettysburg Foundation will work with the National Park Service to authenticate the human remains,” the park said in a statement. “Once provenance of the remains has been verified, the Gettysburg Foundation will donate them to Gettysburg National Military Park for interment with full military honors in the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg.”

The remains of the killed soldier are now in storage at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center pending verification of their authenticity.

“We are thankful to have the opportunity to honor what is very likely an American veteran and have his final resting place recognized,” said Ed W. Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.  “The outpouring of support, passion and concern from American citizens made the difference and a positive outcome was achieved.”

According to news reports, the auction house had hoped the auction of the skull and relics would raise between $50,000 and $250,000 from a private collector or museum.

The skull was found in 1949 near the Benner Farm, site of a Confederate field hospital, by someone tilling a garden, Reuters reported. A breastplate found nearby came from a Louisiana unit of the Confederate Army, the auction house said.

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