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    Description

    Dog Tag Belonging to James F. Ames, 5th New York Cavalry, Who Deserted and Rode With Colonel John S. Mosby. James F. Ames enlisted on October 29, 1861, as a corporal. He mustered into "M" Company of the New York 5th Cavalry two days later. He deserted on February 10, 1863, allegedly due to his disapproval of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The occasion of Ames' desertion is noted in Mosby's memoirs. He writes, in part: "When we captured prisoners, it was my custom to examine them apart, and in this way...I obtained pretty accurate knowledge of conditions in the enemy's camps. After a few weeks of partisan life, I meditated a more daring enterprise than any I had attempted and fortunately received aid from an unexpected quarter. A deserter from the Fifth New York Cavalry, named Ames, came to me. He was a sergeant in the regiment and came in his full uniform. I never cared to inquire what his grievance was. The account he gave me of the distribution of troops and the gaps in the picket lines coincided with what I knew and tended to prepossess me in his favor...At first I did not give him my full confidence but accepted him on probation... Ames stood all tests, and until he was killed I never had a more faithful follower." Ames was killed October 9, 1864, by a Union soldier in front of "Yew Hill" near Delaplane, Virginia. Another of Mosby's men shot and killed his assailant who was engaged in going through Ames' pockets.

    Ames' dog tag was dug up in the early 1960s by a Frederick County, Maryland, collector. Due to ill health he sold the dog tag about 1990 to the present owner. The brass disk measures approximately 30mm in diameter. The obverse of the tag features a Federal shield and the caption "AGAINST REBELLION 1861"; the reverse, showing significant signs of wear from the elements, you can make out "James F. Ames / 5th New York". Despite its dug condition, Ames' dog tag represents a fascinating story and would make would make an excellent addition to an advanced Civil War collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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