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Object Name COMPASS
Catalog Number 0985.07.00003a
Description Compass: of brass, with a glass crystal and steel pin. With case (b) of leather with a velvet liner and brass clasp.
Dimensions Dia-5.375 inches
Owned Jefferson Davis ; James Birney Linn
Owner Regiment 4th Michigan Cavalry
Event flight and capture of Jefferson Davis, 1865
Provenance Jefferson Davis used this compass with case when he fled Richmond, Virginia. Soldiers of the 4th Michigan Cavalry confiscated the compass from Davis at his capture in Georgia. Mr. James Birney Linn purchased the compass from a member of the 4th Michigan Cavalry for $40; the soldier needed the money to travel home.

"Sometime in May or June 1865, a member of the 4th Michigan Cavalry came thru Chattanooga and spent part of the day at Mr. Linn's gallery on the mountain and had with him a beautiful compass which he said was the one used by Mr. Davis and that he himself picked it up immediately after Mr. Davis' capture and hid it on his person. They stopped in Macon, Georgia, where this soldier procured a picture of the ambulance in which rode Mr. and Mrs. Davis, a copy of which Mr. Linn made. Mr. Linn offered to buy the compass but the soldier refused to sell, saying he was on his way back to Michigan awnd wanted to take it with him as a valuable relic. Finally Mr. Linn laid down 2 twenty dollar bills by the soldier and said, 'Now, when you go decide whether you will take these or the compass.' After staying about 1/2 an hour the soldier left taking the money with him and leaving the compass with Mr. Linn. It is about 5 inches in diameter and can be used as a transit in surveying, has no mark on it but the numbers 30 on the back; on the face is marked with the degrees and S, E, and W, and a sort of fleur de lis at the top where North should be. It is in an old black leather case, lined with red velvet. Mr. Linn said the soldier was lathe to part with it as he wanted to keep it for a relic of the Confederacy. Mr. Linn did know his name and had it on a paper but has mispalced it." (history of the compass, as given by J. B. Linn, 12/21/1913, Mississippi files)
People Davis, Jefferson
unidentified Union soldiers
Linn, James Birney
Search Terms flight and capture of Jefferson Davis, 1865
Irwinville, Georgia
items captured by Union soldiers
items captured from Confederate soldiers
items taken
items taken by Union soldiers
items taken from Confederate soldiers
United States Army
Subjects prices