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Curators Corner

News from the AHAC Curator: CIVIL WAR

When one thinks of Civil War artifacts, weapons, uniforms and equipment usually come to mind. While the Ancients museum has plenty of those, there are a group of items relating to the conflict which people probably don't pay a lot of attention to. Two such items are the walking sticks described here.

The first one was made from a branch of a tree which stood in front of Hooker's Brigade at the Battle of Antietam. It was presented to Dr. Frank Walker Graves, a Union surgeon and member of the Ancients, by Dr. Charles F. Russell, Confederate surgeon. On the stick are carved the names of Union and Confederate generals who took part in the battle. The beautiful carving was done by a man named H.M. Johnson. I wonder if there are other examples of his work yet to be discovered.

The second walking stick was fashioned of wood taken from Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's flagship, USS Hartford, in 1862. The bronze cannon is real. It can fire a .25 caliber ball with a small charge of powder. In the good old days, a gentleman walking down the street, who needed to deal with ruffians, could choose several means of self-defense without having to go through the legal niceties of licensing, registration and other nonsense. Walking sticks were common and all this one needed to go into action was the glowing ember from an innocent looking cigar.

LT Chuck Fazio, Curator

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