from The Southbridge Journal, 28 Aug 1863 (Volume 3 #28), contributed by Mike Branniff

We are happy to acknowledge the receipt of a gift, presented by Mr. Aaron Allen, of Sturbridge, accompanied by the following note.

Mr. Editor Dear Sir: I herewith present to you, in behalf of Corporal Thomas Blasland and James Barlow, of the 15th Regiment Mass. Volunteers, a cane. On it you will perceive a serpent, and, as I have a great dislike for snakes, especially those of the Copperhead species . I was about to utter a word of caution to” Handle with care” but, on reflection, think it unnecessary knowing as I do that your constant practice is to handle that kind of gentry without mittens. I leave it then in your hands, without further note or comment, hoping you will duly appreciate the good motives with which it is presented.
Aaron Allen

The donors whittled cane came out of a black walnut rail, taken from the fence near the Hospital at South Mountain, Md., where they were confined from severe wounds received at the battle of Antietam, and it was carved wholly with pocket knives. It represents a snake encircling the stick and raising its head to receive a blow from the clenched fist which forms the head of the cane. It is needless to say that the design and the workmanship exhibit ingenuity and skill. Near the top is a silver plate, elegantly engraved by Wm. C. Barnes of this place, with the following inscription

Made at Camp A Hospital
Near South Mountain and
H. C .Grey
James C. Barlow and Thomas Blasland
Of the 15th M.V. Feb. 1863

Our intense distaste for the society of copperheads, may prevent us from appearing often in public places with this staff; yet we shall ever treasure it as a memento of the times, and a token of appreciation our gallant soldiers in the field, fighting to conquer treason there, bestow upon our feeble efforts to surpress its expression at home; and we treasure it also, as the work of patriot soldiers, members of that heroic Regiment which never yet quailed before the enemy’s fire, whose pains were relieved, and the long hours of whose hospital life were consumed in the task of making it. It is dearer, too, as a memento of one who has ably sought to interest us and our readers by his excellent letters from “SLATER GUARDS.”