Presented is an original pair of Civil War-used field glasses. The field glasses were used by Captain Abraham Byrd of Virginia during the War. The glasses, an intricate example of brass and glass technology, were made in Paris, France by L’Aiglon. The glasses are stamped “L’ AIGLON/PARIS.”The glasses were most likely made in the early 1860s.
Binoculars were first invented in France in the 1840s. They started small, primarily as opera glasses, but by the Civil War, they were being used in battle. Larger versions, like the pair seen here, became known as field glasses. Unlike Civil War uniforms or canteens, most field glasses were purchased privately by officers on both sides. Very few were issued by the Government and those carried either "U.S." or "C.S.A." imprints.
Captain Abraham Byrd served the 10th Virginia Infantry Company S, working as an assistant quartermaster. A native of Virginia, Byrd was 37 years old at the outset of the war. Byrd would have used these binoculars to sight locations and keep track of troop movements during battle.
The optics remain generally clear and the focusing mechanism still operates properly. The brass body displays some shallow dents and scratches commensurate with past use, otherwise they are in very good condition. Sold with a “A. Byrd” metal stencil made of sheet metal. Dimensions: Fully extended: 2 1/2" H x 5" W x 7 3/8" D. Not extended: 2 1/2" H x 5" W x 6" D. Name plate: 3" H x 8 1/4" W.