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The “Pro Petri Sede Medaglia” was taken from the body of Myles Keogh when found June 27, 1876 on the east side of the battle ridge at the Little Big Horn. Myles Keogh is seen wearing these two medals in Civil War photography and during the Indian War. The “Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede” (Pro Petri Medal) was presented to Keogh after the Papal War by Pope Pius IX 1860, he was also awarded the “Ordine di San Gregorio” (St. Gregory Medal). Vatican records confirm these two medals both given to Keogh. The Papal War of 1860 ended with the fall of Ancona where as many as 100 Irish soldiers in the Battalion of St. Patrick were killed or wounded during those few weeks in September. For their service, each officer and enlisted man was awarded the Medal for Gallantry “Pro Petri Sede Medaglia” by Pope Pius IX. The medal is a circular, silvered nickel-silver medal with hollow center with inverted Latin cross. With a circular ring in the form of a scaled mythical creature swallowing it’s own tail, on ornate swivel suspension with ribbon bar; the face circumscribed ‘PRO PETRI SEDE’ (literally ‘for the seat of Peter’, meaning for the Vatican) above and ‘PIO*IX*P*M*A*XV’ (= Pius IX Pontifex Maximus 15th year, for the 15th year of the reign of Pope Pius IX = 1860); the reverse circumscribed ‘VICTORIA OVAE VINCIT MUNDUM FIDES NOSTRA’ (The victory of our flock conquers the world with our faith). These medals were of great importance to Keogh when he lost both in a fire at the famous Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1865. In 1867 Keogh obtained replacement medals. Keogh affirmed he didn’t want to take leave for home in Ireland unless he had both medals with him. The last known photograph of Keogh taken in 1872 shows both medals prominently displayed on his left breast. These two medals of Myles Keogh are extremely well provenanced from direct family descent and lastly, one of the largest historians and authorities of Custer memorabilia, Dr. Elizabeth Lawrence. There are few personal mementos documented from the Custer battlefield that have a more interesting history than Keogh’s Medal for Gallantry “Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede” given him by Pope Pius IX in 1860 while he was fighting with other Irish Catholics in the Battalion of St. Patrick in the Papal Army. There are numerous accounts concerning Keogh’s body being not mutilated due to the fact he was wearing this medal. One of the most comprehensive texts on the Custer battle is Evan Connell’s 1984 Son of the Morning Star where he summarizes several accounts of Keogh’s body and this medal “Captain Myles Keogh had not been disfigured. He lay naked except for his socks, with a Catholic medal around his neck which usually is identified as an Agnus Dei, perhaps because Agnus Dei is a familiar phrase. Romantics describe it as a cross hanging from a golden chain. Almost certainly this medal was kept in a small leather purse or sheath and Keogh most likely wore it suspended by a leather thong or length of cord. It was the Medaglia di Pro Petri Sede awarded to him by Pope Pius IX for service with the Papal Army.” In the most important biography of Keogh, written in 1939 by Edward Luce Keogh, Comanche and Custer. Luce was positive it was “the Pro Petri” medal that he wore and further claimed it was in “… a leather case attached to a cord around his neck…””. Accompanying these medals is a file of correspondence from descendants and Dr. Lawrence concerning medal. It is interesting to note that in a copy of Keogh’s will written just three days prior to his death states his $10,000 life insurance policy and all his personal affects would be given to his sister Margaret Keogh in Ireland. In an article posted online, PROVENANCE: Myles Keogh 7th US Cavalry 1860, Margaret Keogh (sister) Kil Kenny, Ireland 1876, Dr. Desmond Blanchfield Keogh,Carlow, Ireland 1947, Garret Keogh Dublin, Ireland 1988, Dr. Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence 1988, Dr. Robert P. Lawrence 2003. CONDITION: Very good overall. Minor chipping in red enamel on St. Gregory Medal. Suspension ring opened on St. Gregory cross to green enameled wreath which is chipped, missing about 60% of enamel overall. Pro Petri still exhibits some luster, however plating is worn and scratched over much of its surface with small reductions of silver plating on cross as can be seen in photographs. 4-54477 JS (30,000-50,000) – Lot 1428

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Auction: Firearms - March 2015
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.