An interesting footnote to the entire episode was the return of the Masonic sword that was carried by Wilcoxson and later fell into the hands of Dickison. Dickison admired the bravery of Wilcoxson. Immediately after the engagement, when Dickison learned who had he just fought, he went up to the injured colonel and addressed him: “Colonel, why did you throw your life away?” Wilcoxson answered: “Don’t blame yourself, you are only doing your duty as a soldier; I alone am to blame.” The surgeon who came to Wilcoxson’s aid greeted him as they were also brothers of the “mystic tie”. A series of letters and notes then passed between the lines of which the following have survived:
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA. March 23, 1865
Captain J.J. Dickison:
SIR: I have heard that you are a most kind and honorable gentleman and a Freemason. Believing this to be a fact, I, as the widow of an honored Mason and brave soldier, appeal to you for a great favor.
The sword which by my husband, the late Lt. Col. Wilcoxson, wore at the time of his capture by you, was presented to him by his brothers of the “Mystic Tie”, members of the St. John’s Lodge, of Norwalk, Conn., in token of the high esteem in which they held him. If you are a Mason, you will understand the value which he placed upon the gift, and why I so strongly desire to possess it, in order that I may re-present it to the lodge.
Is it possible for you to return it to me? Or if it has passed out of your immediate possession, can you in any way effect restoration of it to me? The centennial celebration of the St. John’s Lodge takes place May next. Earnest have been the entreaties of brotherhood that the colonel would make an effort to be with them at that time in spirit, without doubt. What would I not give to be able to place in their hands the sword which, though it passed from my husband’s hands in such a manner, has never been dishonored!
MRS. ALBERT H. WILCOXSON
CAMP BAKER, WALDO, FLA. March 31, 1865
Mrs. Albert H. Wilcoxson, St. Augustine, Fla.
MADAM: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant, which reached me a few days ago by a flag of truce.
Previous to the receipt of your letter, at the request of your husband, I had concluded to send you the sword which was worn by him at the time of his capture. It is unusual, in time of war, to return captures of this description, but, in this instance, I will deviate from that course, on account of the feelings I entertained for your husband as a brave officer. With this, I send you his sword, trusting that it may reach you safely.
I am, madam, yours respectfully,
Captain Commanding Forces
The sword was indeed returned and is still a cherished possession of the Masonic Lodge inNorwalk,Connecticut. The Masonic ring was given to the rebel Surgeon Dr. Minor who tried to save Wilcoxson. As for the brave men of the 17thConnecticutwho were captured at Braddock’s farm, they endured 2 months of hell atAndersonvillebefore being paroled at the end of the war.