Bone tie slide set over a period print entitled
Camp Leavitt [Virginia]
Winter Quarters of the 16th Maine Regiment,
March 18, 1865
Pvt. Patten’s handiwork is representative of classic
Civil War winter camp soldier folk art fostered by
long hours of inactivity when entire regiments were
holed up for the winter months.   During this mostly
idle time soldiers fashioned all manner of personal
items and trinkets to send home or trade.    Beef bone
was a readily available medium which was carved
and frequently incised with decorative inlay of
colored sealing wax.  Beef bone as a raw material
was augmented by the use of wood to include the
dense native laurel root, peach pits, silver from coins
or a spoon flattened to provide a thin flat sheet.   
A collage of soldier made bone folk art includes a pair of decorated finger
rings with a period tag identifying the relics as having been fashioned by

“an occupant of the Famous A-ville [Andersonville] Prison Pen 1864”

This miniature carpenter chest with tools of carved bone was done by
John W. Thompson who was an eighteen year old resident of
Hartford, Maine when in the summer of 1861 he enlisted as a
musician in the 5th  Maine Infantry Regimental Band.  Discharged a
bit over a year later, Thompson re-enlisted in the spring of 1864 as a
Private of Co H, 32nd Maine infantry.  He transferred to H Co. 31st
Maine in December 1864 and was discharged in August 1865.