JOHN L. RANSOM, 9th MICHIGAN CAVALRY, ANDERSONVILLE STOCKADE MEMENTO

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Item Code: 1097-11

John Ransom’s diary of his experiences in Andersonville and Belle Isle ranks among the best of Civil War reminiscences and is well known among most students of the war. Ransom was captured in Tennessee in November 1863 and spent fourteen months in Confederate prisoner-of-war camps. His account, published in 1881, chronicles not only details of prison life, but the measures, physical and psychological he took to survive.

This gavel is made from a piece of the prison’s stockade and bears as a label a printed copy of a notarized statement by Ransom with a facsimile signature, dated 1885. As the twentieth anniversary of the war arrived, relics and mementos were even more eagerly sought after, and Victorian taste dictated that if they could be fashioned into something decorative or useful, so much the better. This is a relic from a horrendous situation, but even the large veterans’ associations of ex-prisoners of war were determined to “forgive, but not forget.”  [sr]

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