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Col. Charles Courtenay Tew

The Tew/Sloan Families and the 33rd Signal Regiment of the Canadian Army

A Message from Canada

 

Just as Col. Tew's family did not know his final grave's location, they did not know his sword's fate, believed to be taken as spoils of war. Sometime after 1870, Col. Tew's father received a letter that the sword was hanging in an Odd Fellows Hall in Norwalk, Ohio. Before the family could investigate, the sword was gone. 

Unknown to the family, in 1963 a New York state resident, Amelia Blythe, who moved to Ottawa, Canada, possessed the sword and donated it to the 763 Communications Regiment of the Canadian Army, now known as the 33 Signal Regiment. Michael Martin, chairman of the 33 Signal Regiment Foundation, believes a distant Blythe relative in the 55th Ohio could have shipped the sword home before dying at Chancellorsville, Virginia.  the The sword was hung in their Mess Hall. Meanwhile, the family continued to search, first by contacting dealers, then aided by the Internet, but without luck.

When the regiment moved to a new home in 2009, the sword was included in an appraisal of non-publically funded property. The appraisal determined the sword was a valuable Civil War era artifact. The 33 Regiment quickly and thoughtfully decided the sword should be returned to The Citadel as a gift. The regiment had to take extraordinary efforts to establish the sword had no value to the Canadian people so the government could "alienate" the sword and return it as a gift. This step required approval from Canada's Chief of Defence staff. 

 

An object of "Great Significance"

In March, 2015, the 33 Regiment was finally able to reach out the The Citadel about an object of "great significance." 

On September 16, 2015, the Tew sword was returned to Antietam's Bloody Lane battlefield where Col. Tew lost his life 153 years before. The memorial ceremony was attended by representatives of the 33 Signal Regiment of the Canadian Army and its foundation, the Tew/Sloan family, and Citadel cadets and faculty.  The 33 Regiment presented the sword to a National Park Service park ranger, who then transferred it to the cadets.The Citadel contingent returned the sword to the college for a reception at Daniel Library with the cherished sword on display. An official transfer was held on Sept. 18 on Summerall Field, just prior to the traditional Friday cadet dress parade.

Col. Tew's sword was lost on the battlefield during our nation's greatest challenge to unity. Now, after a never-ending search, great international efforts, and personal cooperation, The Citadel's first honor graduate's sword is reunited with his alma mater. 

 

The Tew silver cup, returned to Mr. Henry S. Tew by Capt. J.W. Bean, U.S.A. in October, 1874. The cup is still in the possession of Colonel Tew's family, currently his great-great-granddaughter and her 7 year old son. 

 

 

References

Behre, R. (2015, September 15). Canada to return Civil War commander's lost sword to Citadel. The Post & Courier. Retrieved from http://www.citadel.edu/root/canada-return-tew-sword#


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