Human neck shackle, 1862

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Captain Charles C.G. Thornton, who served in the 12th Maine volunteers, filed this iron collar and chain from the neck of a Black enslaved field hand who came inside the Federal lines from the Confederacy in 1862 at Pontchartrain, Louisiana during the Civil War.

Thornton presented the shackle to the Maine Historical Society with the following note:
The collar originally had three iron prongs reaching to the top of the man's head and was fastened by the chain to a shackle around his ankle, carrying a ten-pound ball. He said he had worn it a year and the condition of his neck and ankle, calloused in deep ridges, verified his word. The prongs and ball he had got rid of before he reached our lines. The irons were put on him because when forbidden to visit his wife, who had been sold to a planter living ten miles away, he ran away. He was recaptured and his master caused irons to be riveted on him.

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About This Item

  • Title: Human neck shackle, 1862
  • Creation Date: 1862
  • Subject Date: 1862
  • Location: Pontchartrain, LA
  • Media: Iron
  • Local Code: 82
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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