September

Will D. Noble (engraver), "The Squirrel Hunter's Discharge" certificate

Creator: Will D. Noble (engraver); Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. Lith, Cin.

Title: “The Squirrel Hunter’s Dischargecertificate

Date: 1863

Medium: lithograph on paper, 8.5x11 in.

National Museum of Health & Medicine, Washington, USA

EMu user since 2002

The Squirrel Hunter's Discharge“The Squirrel Hunter’s Discharge” certificate (NCP 1972) is an odd piece for a Medical Museum to own, but it probably was donated as a part of the Museum’s Civil War focus. Founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862, the Museum was intended to do medical and surgical research during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Eventually its curators published the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, a giant undertaking which took 23 years and over 6,000 pages to complete and weighed 56 pounds (25 kg).

According to the Ohio Historical Society, when Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith appeared likely to cross the Ohio River, the governor called up a voluntary militia to defend the state. These volunteers were clad in their typical hunting clothes and were dubbed “Squirrel Hunters.” The feared invasion never happened and the men were sent home, with an honorable discharge voted for them by the State Government in March 1863.

The certificate reads “Cincinnati was menaced by the enemies of our Union: David Tod, Governor of Ohio called on the Minute Men of the State, and the “Squirrel Hunters” came by thousands to the rescue. You _____________ were one of them and this is your Honorable Discharge.”

Signed by P.P. Lane, Colonel, Commanding, and Major Malcolm McDowell, this certificate never had a name filled in.