Civil War Carved Ring – Human Bone – C.1865

The American civil war came about at a particularly inopportune time… Advances in warfare and weaponry had completely outpaced advances in medical science and so, when winged from cap and ball firepower there was little to do but amputate and send the boy home. Those even less lucky would languish, legless and eventually succumb to sepsis or gangrene in the barely clean much less sterile field hospitals of the day. Such was the circumstance of rings of this type. A common enough occurrence during the conflict was to remove the flesh from the femur of an amputated leg or of the leg of a felled enemy soldier, saw that femur into 1/2 inch slices and give them to soldiers to carve into sweetheart rings to send home to their mothers, wives and best girls.

This ring is of that era and from that place, and is carved from human femur. One wonders at the battle camp by moonlight, a sliver of human bone worked under the skilled whittling knife of a Blue or a Grey as he missed his mother, wished he could go home and hoped to hell he would not be the next guy to get his lag sawn off at the knee and mailed home in sections to the various loves of his regiment.