A wonderful example of the resourcefulness of skilled soldiers, POWs or otherwise, who plied their skills creating articles for trade with fellow troopers. Many a beef bone was transformed into a ring or other trinket, laurel root carved into a tobacco pipe, or other handiwork ,was exchanged for a camp stool, shelter half, a haircut or a tasty treat scavenged or received from home. This example takes the form of a beautifully shaped and scrimshawed powder horn identified to Pvt. Page F. Grover who was a 19 year old Litchfield, Maine resident when he enlisted on January 13, 1862 as Pvt. Co. B of the 15th Maine Volunteer Infantry. Pvt. Grover was captured by Confederate Cavalry at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana on April 9, 1864 and held prisoner at Camp Ford, Tyler Texas until exchanged May 26, 1865. This artifact is clearly attributable to the skill of a single entrepreneurial craftsman at the Tyler Texas Confederate prison by virtue of the fortunate existence of four examples, one in a museum collection with three others in addition to ours maintained in private collections. All four horns demonstrate the distinctive work of the same craftsman and each is inscribed to a prisoner of the Tyler POW facility. Pvt. Grover’s horn measures approximately eighteen inches in length with a carved ducks head spout and orange stained, turned plug with acorn finial.
Incised on the panels of the octagonal neck,
P. F. Grover – Prisoner of War, Tyler Texas Captured Pleasant Hill La. April 9, 1864
The thinly scraped and translucent body is heavily decorated in patriotic material with the addition of a graphic prisoner escape scene, hunting views and an infantryman with rifle before a 15th Maine marked tent.