This lock of Hair belonged to James Madison Drake, 9th New Jersey Infantry, & formed the Veteran Zouaves after the Civil War.
Medal Of Honor Recipient’s Lock of hair belonging to Brevet Brigadier General James Madison Drake. Drake was born on March 25,1837, in New Jersey. At the outbreak of the Civil War he accepted the position of color bearer in Company C, 3rd New Jersey Militia. Drake had the honor of unfurling one of the first Union flags in Virginia after crossing the Potomac Bridge into that state. He would enlisted into the 9th NJ Infantry in October of 1861, and that regiment was part of General Burnsides Expedition to North Carolina.
The 9th was heavily engaged at the battle of Drury’s Bluff, Va in May of 1864, were Drake, his colonel and a good number of the regiment were captured and taken to Libby Prison. Later in October of 1864, while being transferred to another prison in Charleston, SC, Drake and three other prisoners jumped the train and made an exhausting 49 day flight to Union lines near Knoxville, Tenn. After an absence from the regiment, he rejoined them but had to endure a ship wreck in the process. After the war Drake was honored by the State of New Jersey with a brevet brigadier commission, and at the recommendation by the colonel of the 9th NJ, Drake was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the skirmish line at Drury’s bluff.
After the war, Drake organized the “Veteran Zouaves” of Elizabeth, NJ, and was elected colonel (part of the 3rd regt. NJ National Guard).
Drake in later times wore his hair in Buffalo Bill Style, in his long auburn hair and goatee. When the Spanish American War began, he offered himself and 1000 men for duty, and at that time he promised he would not cut his hair until the hostilities were over. (From the article by John kuhl, the original collector of this hair recorded-) “Drake’s hair was still auburn in color after over 100 years and still in one of the small presentation boxes Drake had made up as gifts to his special friends on the occasion of his first birthday after the Spanish American War.
General Drake died at home after a long illness at Elizabeth on 28 November, 1913 in his 75th year.
This lot consists of:
- Lock of auburn hair tied together with red, white & blue ribbon, retaining all the color as described in the above article. Kept in a jeweler’s box with the name of the recipient, “john Mundrane” in pencil. This name appears in the larger box address to Miss Margret E. Mundrane. C/O The Singer Sewing Co., Elisabeth Port, Elizabeth, N.J.
- 3 original newspaper clippings about Drake; one “Celebrating 62nd Anniversary (1899) about each Zouave receiving a lock of hair; A story about Drakes escape by leaping from a moving train during the war; and a eulogy for Wed. Dec. 3, 1913 in the Hunterdon Republican.
- A card for “Three Nights’ Celebration to be given by the VETERAN ZOUAVES…WED, Oct. 20 -22, 1884, with list of items being given out on the reverse.
- A PHOTOCOPY of 2nd Lieutenant Drake, taken in 1864. (from John Kuhl Collection, his original images given to the State of NJ).
Condition overall is very good -fine.
A neat item, if not a bit different. Must be Cleared For Weird.