Slave shackles

Object Number: 
ca. 1866
Overall: 4 1/4 x 23 x 1/4 in. ( 10.8 x 58.4 x 0.6 cm )
Pair of steel ankle shackles; round cuffs with a soldered peg closure; four oval chain links attach the two cuffs.
Gallery Label: 
According to a letter that accompanied these shackles upon their donation to the Historical Society in 1921, they were cut off teenage slave Mary Horn of Americus, Georgia, by Colonel William W. Badger of the 176th Regiment New York Volunteers, more than a year after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Mary is said to have belonged to a Judge Horn, who riveted the irons to her legs with his own hands to prevent her from walking to the next plantation to see her beloved, George. George begged Colonel Badger to free Mary from her shackles and supposedly held her over an anvil while Badger cut them off.
Holzer, Harold and The New-York Historical Society. "The Civil War in 50 Objects." New York: Viking, 2013.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. Carroll Beckwith
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group