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    "Pieces of the Last United States Flag Which Waved Over the Capitol of Richmond, Va. in 1861".

    Fanny Ricketts. A Remarkable Civil War Archive of Fanny Ricketts Concerning Her Wounded Husband, General James B. Ricketts, and Her Time with Him in Libby Prison, Including Pieces of the Last U.S. Flag that Flew Over Richmond.
    The fascinating group of items highlights the thrilling Civil War activities of one of the Civil War's most famous nurses, Fanny Ricketts, who accompanied her wounded husband, General James B. Ricketts to the infamous Confederate Libby Prison and nursed him and other wounded soldiers there. The archive, handed down through relatives many years ago, includes her detailed eight-page handwritten story as well as several newspaper articles, a photograph of her husband and an amazing period framed relic of "Pieces of the last United States Flag which waved over the Capitol at Richmond, Va. in 1861 given me while in prison there in August 1861."

    Accompanying the flag is a cabinet card of Fanny Ricketts' husband Major General James B. Ricketts (1817-1887), who was shot four times and captured at the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. He was confined in Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, and Fanny was allowed to travel to Richmond and stay with him as his nurse. He was later exchanged for a Confederate officer on December 18, 1861. In addition to the cabinet card are several articles, one of which is entitled "Six Months in the Enemy's Lines," a note sent to Libby Prison from "Office of Frank Leslie's Publications," from New York and dated 1862. Leslie had sent Fanny a clipping entitled "Release of Captain Ricketts." Below the article is written "From the Richmond Examiner." Also in the archive is a retained copy of a letter Fanny sent to a "Miss Flagg" who had inquired about her missing brother after the Battle of Bull Run. In the letter, Fanny wrote, "I left Washington the third morning after the fatal battle, accompanied by a driver and found my wounded husband, Capt. Ricketts, in a stone house near the battle field where over a hundred of our badly wounded brave soldiers had been taken, among them your brother who was shot through the body & one leg." She explains that the wounded were placed on a train to Richmond "exposed to...intense heat...on open boxcars used for freight. Soon after leaving Gordonsville & perhaps a mile from the station, your husband died. The person in charge of the prisoners removed him from the cars which ran slowly while his body wrapped in a blue Army blanket fell to the side of the track. Never can I forget the horror & bitterness of feeling with which I gazed my poor wounded husband's face to that of your brave brother, our companion in misery & this left!" The heart of this remarkable archive is an eight-page handwritten account by Fanny of her Civil War nursing activities. The following excerpts provide a glimpse of her story.

    "Realizing his condition prevented escape from capture, he begged Lieut. Baker to cut off his sash and take it with his sword to me, saying 'I will never surrender my sword, take it to my wife, tell her I have done my duty, my last thoughts are of her and our child.'"

    "The horrors of that drive over the battlefield strewn with putrefying, swollen corpses of men and horses in the hot July sun baffle description, also my entrance into the Hall while a man was being amputated on a dining room table, arterial blood spouting and sprinkling the ceiling and walls, as I ascended the stairs to a room so small that for nearly three weeks its seven occupants touched each other while sleeping on its bare floor! Genl. Ricketts alone was on a stretcher wrapped in one of his own red artillery blankets, his Army hat bandaging his cut forehead and generally unconscious from his wound not having spoken that day...but as I knelt by his side, he drew me down saying 'My wife, I knew you would come.'"

    "On arrival...President Lincoln, his cabinet and members of Congress, personally called....The Secretary of War gave me a general pass...which enabled me to spend four years of war chiefly in camps or on battlefields, while keeping open house in Washington as a hospital for all my wounded friends."

    More Information: Fanny Lawrence Ricketts (?-1900) married in January 1856 a distant relative on her maternal side, James B. Ricketts, who was then a captain in the First U.S. Artillery Regiment. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Captain Ricketts was ordered to Virginia, and in July 1861, Fanny traveled from the Rio Grande to Washington, D.C., where she made her temporary home. After the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861), Fanny was informed that her husband had been killed, but two days later she was informed that he had survived, but seriously wounded and a prisoner. Fanny immediately hired a carriage and driver and got a pass to the extent of the Union lines. Then, reaching the Confederate lines, she was allowed to proceed to the battlefield to be with her husband. Fanny was allowed to accompany her husband to Richmond and to Libby Prison. In the end of December 1861, Ricketts was exchanged and he and Fanny returned to the Union lines. Fanny eventually returned to Washington, but in the fall of 1864, her husband was seriously wounded again and she came to him, staying with him for many months while he recovered. After her husband's death in 1887, Fanny received a pension. When she died in 1900, she was buried with her husband at Arlington Cemetery.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 569

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