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This rare award, a Colored Troops Medal or Butler Medal of 1864, comes for sale at the Medals & Coins, Arms & Armour Militaria at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on September 23 with an estimate of £8000-12,000.

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Struck at the Philadelphia Mint and mounted by Bigelow & Kennard of Boston, these medals were issued by the Union General Benjamin Butler to members of the African American battalions that fought under his command at The Battle of Chaffin's Farm and Newmarket Heights on September 29 and 30, 1864.

Butler - who read the battlefield reports with great care - was moved to commission this medal, a hybrid of campaign and gallantry award, to honour an estimated 197 selected men.

It comes with a printed card reading; This medal I designed and caused to be struck in memory of the valiant charge of the Coloured Troops at New Market Heights and Chaffins Farm on that day......Please accept this as the First and only Medal ever struck to commemorate the bravery of Negro Soldiers by the white man.... You know how well deserved."