|Colonel John W. Kimball|
|"On the 8th of November Lieutenant-Colonel John W. Kimball, who had served with great distinction in the Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment, and who had been for some time in command of it, was elected colonel of the Fifty-third Regiment, and on the 29th of November he arrived and assumed command...the colonel made a speech to the regiment; complimented them upon their fine appearance, and said he believed he should be able to rely upon them in any emergency, and hoped that the experience already acquired by him on the field might be of benefit to them. He said that they were going into a service of hardship and danger but he would assure them that he would not ever ask them to go into any position where he would not go himself. He was most enthusiastically received."
The Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, by Henry A. Willis, pp. 21, 22.
A short biographical sketch of Colonel Kimball and another () photo may be found here, and another at the excellent 15th Massachusetts Regiment website.
Additional photos of Colonel Kimball, his uniform, and some of his equipment and of his gravesite in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Fitchburg, Mass may be viewed from these links.
A newspaper clipping pasted in the front of my copy of the Willis regimental history, probably from a Fitchburg newspaper, tells about a special gift presented to Gen. Kimball sometime after the war:
On his return from California, Frank A. Alvord brought with him a gift for Gen. J. W. Kimball, which is not only intrinsically valuable as a work of art, but for its associations. It is a cane made from a stick of mountain mahogany, cut on the Sierra Nevada mountains, and carved by a veteran soldier, now an inmate of the National Soldiers' Home near Santa Monica, Cal. It bears the insignia of every army corps that fought in the Civil War, handsomely and artistically cut in relief, and the head is the semblance of an eagle's with open beak.
The cane was given to Comrade Alvord to bring to Gen. Kimball by Robert J. Elliott, also an inmate of the California Soldiers' Home, who was formerly a well known resident of this city. He was a member of Co. B, 15th Mass. regiment, Gen. Kimball's old regiment, and was the first man to enlist from South Ashburnham, where he was living in 1861. After the war and during his residence in this city he gained quite a reputation as an amateur actor.
The cane accompanied by an appropriate inscription may be seen for a few days in the window of Allen & Lesure's clothing store.
I don't know any more about this cane. If anyone has any information about it, I am curious to learn its fate.