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    Prisoner's broadside from Johnson's Island POW Camp: The Rebel thespians present an original drama titled "Battle of Gettysburg" in November 1863.
    This original broadside, measuring 5" x 17" lists at the top the manager's, treasurer, promoter, and other Confederate officers involved in the production. Only Confederate officers were held on Johnson's Island while captured enlisted men were sent to Camp Chase in Columbus or other Union POW camps. The Northern strategy was to separate the brains from the braun! Next on the broadside under the officers is the headline "Original Drama! By Lieut. A. J. Peeler of Florida, written expressly for Rebel Thespians." "Proceeds to be applied to relief of smallpox patients." The drama was to be held at "New Thespian Hall, Block 8." The Confederate officers had been allowed by prison officials to actually build a hall for their performances. They were also allowed to advertise their performance in Sandusky, Ohio and citizens were allowed to attend. "Price of admission 25 cents - Reserved seats 50 cents." Next on the broadside is the title "Battle of Gettysburg to have five acts." Below that is a cast of characters. One character of note is Maj. George McKnight who was the Island's "poet" with the pen name "Asa Hartz." At the bottom of the broadside is a listing of the ten officers involved in the orchestra and what instrument they played. In all there are over thirty Confederate officers listed as Thespians on this broadside. One of the fascinating possibilities for research would be to find out where each officer had been captured and if they survived the imprisonment. There are several books with this information that have been published. While broadsides like this were posted in Sandusky, this particular piece does not have the date filled in, just ________ evening, Nov.______1863". As far as we know, after speaking with the Head of the Johnson's Island Association, this is the only example observed.

    Provenance: Bloomsbury Auction in N. Y. 4/9/2008.

    Condition: The broadside has been strengthened at the folds by an archival professional. Overall toning but no observed fading. A wonderful piece of POW history from one of the most colorful Union Prison Camps. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    6th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 350

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