New York. March 5, 1858. p., printed on a wide octavo sheet bordered in black. Small faint stain in upper margin, else fine. Item #WRCAM47075
A rare piece of ephemera from the funeral ceremonies commemorating the death of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, best known for leading the mission that opened Japan to trade with the United States and the West in the mid- 1850s. This order instructs New York's 7th Regiment to act as the funeral escort for Perry's remains. Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858) also gained fame for other exploits in a long naval career that began with combat in the War of 1812, and continued through service in the Mediterranean and during the Mexican-American War. Commodore Perry fell ill with rheumatism in February, 1858, just two months after completing his published account of the mission to Japan. Perry died in New York on March 4, 1858, and this notice was printed the following day. It is Regimental Order No. 5, issued to the Seventh Regiment of the New York State Militia National Guard. It commands, "in compliance with Division and Brigade Orders, this Regiment will parade, fully armed and equipped, with overcoats, without knapsacks, to morrow, Saturday, the 6th instant, for the purpose of acting as the Funeral Escort to the remains of the late Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Line will be formed in La Fayette Place, at three-quarters past 1 o'clock, precisely. Field and Staff will appear dismounted. The usual Badge of Mourning will be worn on the left arm." The sheet is signed in manuscript in the lower margin by a third person below the printed names of Col. A. Duryee and W.A. Pond, Adjutant. Biographer Samuel Eliot Morison describes the scene in New York following Perry's death: "For three days, flags on public buildings and on ships in New York harbor were half-masted; and the Commodore's funeral, on the afternoon of Saturday, 6 March, was a civic event. Honorary pallbearers included General Winfield Scott, Commodore John D. Sloat, and Perry's old and trusted shipmates Captains McCluney, Breese and Bigelow. The body was escorted from the Perry residence, 38 West 32nd Street, to St. Mark's Church by New York's crack 7th Regiment, two hundred militia officers...a marine guard, and a contingent of fifty bluejackets who had taken part in the Japan Expedition....As the funeral procession passed down Fifth Avenue to 14th Street, then down Second Avenue to St. Mark's at 10th Street, church bells tolled and minute guns were fired by the Brooklyn Navy Yard and by every warship in the harbor." MORISON, OLD BRUIN, pp.431-432.