Civil War Folk Art Carved Cane
It's from the Civil War.
It's a relative on my father's side that fought for the North, and they got caught by the Confederate Army and put into a prisoner-of-war thing in Danville. When he got injured, he cut this branch off from a tree and used it as a cane. And he marked on the top when he cut the branch, and then he wrote the story down the cane because they were escaping from the prison. They traveled at night and he would carve pictures and names and whatever he saw as they were trying to escape.
So Joseph Nelson was here in the unfortunate spot of the rebel prison number 4 in Danville, Virginia.
Those Civil War prisons were notoriously bad places to be.
So he decides that he's going to break out of this prison, right? And part of what he recounts on this cane is all of the guys who he broke out with, but not only that, he describes how they did it. How they surprised the rebel guard, stripped the cartridges from their shoulders, and all of these amazing things, and they break out. And then what do they do? They travel "600 miles over mountains, valleys, rivers, through the enemy counties almost naked, barefooted, often traveling through snow, and cold, rainstorms." By the time he records cutting this branch, he is back with his Union compatriots. I think it's in October of 1864. He has survived this great odyssey. And I think he carves this as a record of that odyssey. With all of the archival things that are now online, I can search Joseph Nelson, and I can corroborate this whole thing. This is a great historical treasure. You can find a lot of Civil War canes out there. It's hard to find one that's worth $1,000. I think this is probably a $5,000 to $7,000 cane at auction.
It is one of the best Civil War canes I've ever seen.
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