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Flinn, John William (fl. 1863) [Collection of John William Flinn, 17th Mississippi] [Decimalized .01-.15]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04573 Author/Creator: Flinn, John William (fl. 1863) Place Written: [various places] Type: Various Date: 1863-1893 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Covers Flinn's capture at Gettysburg and life as a prisoner of war, as well as the Battle of Chickamauga. Flinn joined the 17th Mississippi as a 14-year old and served in Virginia and Tennessee. He later earned a Doctor of Divinity degree and taught at the University of South Carolina. The collection includes an ambrotype (.01), apparently from 1862, showing Flinn as a 14-year old recruit. A card originally inserted with string into the case reads: "No. 105 Dageuerreotype [sic] of Dr. J. W. Flinn. Member of Co. G. 17th Miss. Regt. Barksdale's Humphrey's) Brigade. McLaw's (Kershaw's) Division. Longstreet's Corps. This picture was taken when Dr Flinn enlisted at the age of 14 years & 8 months." The collection has a typed letter signed from Woodrow Wilson during Wilson's time at Princeton University, thanking Flinn for information on his father; the 1859 Bible he kept at camp; a later print of Flinn; and a mourning badge for Jefferson Davis with Flinn's note presenting it to his daughter Nellie. The collection also includes a 17-page postwar typed manuscript from 1893 regarding his story as a 14-year old in the Confederate Army, and his capture and his experience at Point Lookout, Maryland, as a prisoner of war. The unpublished manuscript, written at the request of a teacher, has a valuable two-page description of the camp's layout, the inadequate clothing, foul water, the bitter cold, and the ravenous hunger suffered there. Flinn omits some mitigating things about the POW camp such as getting clothing permits for clothing from home. Omniously, the manuscript ends with two murders of prisoners by negro guards. The typed manuscript with the Jefferson Davis mourning ribbon show Flinn's adherance to the "lost cause" mentality.

People: Flinn, John William

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Prisoner of War, Civil War, Military History, Confederate States of America, Confederate Soldier's Letter, Soldier's Letter

Sub Era: The American Civil War