Finding Aid: March/April 1981


The complete issue

Vol. 2, No. 5
(32 pages)

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Cover Image
This “April Fools” issue of Military Images features a ninth-plate tintype of a Massachusetts militia man wearing his uniform backwards. It does offer the reader a very good look at the details on the back of the uniform coat.

Editor’s Page (inside front cover)
The editor explains the images found on the front and back of this month’s issue.

Mail Call (p. 2)
The readers contributed a logical solution to one of the cryptic messages found in a previous issue. Another reader writes that he was able to identify the uniform worn by an officer in a recently purchased quarter-plate tintype he had purchased based on an article he had read.

John Stocking, U.S.N: Unsung Hero of the Monitor by Charles S. Schwartz (p. 3)
Accompanied by a full-body carte de visite of Boatswain’s Mate John Stocking, the short article provides the information known about the sailor, who was swept overboard while trying to disconnect his ship, the USS Monitor, which was tied up while being towed by the USS Rhode Island.

Origins of the Confederate Uniform by Philip Katcher (pp. 4-7)
The article shows that there is a distinct European influence on the designs of the Confederate military uniform. Many components, such as the rank on the collar and the intricate lacework on the arms of the officer coat, came from the Austrian military. The lacework or braid was also called the “Austrian knot,” and was also used by the French military to designate rank on the kepi, which the Confederate military also had adopted in part and called the “French pattern.” Some aspects of the Union uniform were kept, such as chevrons for non-commissioned officers and branch of service colors; the exceptions were for the Confederate medical corps which was assigned black and the cavalry which was given yellow. While not all of the dress regulations were able to be effectively enforced, the article does provide a good deal of detail on what the intended Confederate uniform was to look like.

The Children of the Battlefield by William Gladstone (pp. 8-9)
After dying on the streets of Gettysburg, an unidentified soldier grasped an ambrotype image of three children. He was buried, and the image was turned over to Dr. J. Francis Bourns, who had carte de visite images made and saw them distributed so the identity of the fallen soldier could be made and his family notified of where he lay. Philinda Humiston was able to identify her children Franklin, Alice, and Frederick, and her husband Amos was reinterred at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg as a result. A total of five different issues of “The Children of the Battle Field” cartes de visite were issued, creating a fund to support the Soldiers’ Orphans Home in Gettysburg. The Humiston children were brought there for their education, and Mrs. Humiston was employed as matron. The article provides a great deal of information about the Humiston family, details about the different issues, and how fundraising was generated by the distribution of the children’s image.

Yerba Buena Island, California: A Look at the New U.S. Naval Training Station in 1901 by John Stacey (pp. 10-15)
Twelve different images accompany this article about the history behind the training station, the facilities that were provided to the “apprentices and landsmen” who were trained there, the ships they used, what skills they learned, and some of the demographic data about the first year. From sleeping in hammocks to doing wash as a group activity to taking a class on naval mathematics, the photographs included provide a glimpse into the life of a naval trainee at the start of a new century.

“Your affectionate son…:” The Civil War Letters of Pvt. Harley J. Hilborn, 145th Pennsylvania Volunteers by Eileen F. Conklin (pp. 16-21)
This issue of Military Images takes a touching and in-depth look at another popular kind of memorabilia, that of the personal letter written home. The letters that Private Hilborn wrote to different members of his family give the reader a great deal of insight into his life from a new recruit in September 1862 through his experiences fighting up to and including his wounding in Fredericksburg in December. He was transferred to Douglass Hospital in Washington, D.C. and wrote from his hospital bed, describing his experiences and eventually asking his father to come and see him. His father arrived the day before he died of his injuries on January 2, 1863.

Passing in Review (p. 21)
Two books are reviewed in this issue. The first is Cry Comanche by Harold H. Simpson, which provides a history of the Fifth U.S. Cavalry, receiving a mixed review. The second book discussed is the reprinting of The Twentieth Maine: A Volunteer Regiment of the Civil War by John J. Pullen.

Military Monkey Business by Don Dillon (pp. 22-25)
Keeping with the “April Fools” theme from the front cover, this pictorial features ten images of military men letting loose in one way or another. In one photograph from Japan taken between 1908 and 1913 shows sailors and a Marine sharing Kirin Lager in a “wetting down party.” Two forms of punishment are shown, with one man being guarded while being confined to the barrel of a cannon and one man “riding a rail” that was crafted to look like a horse. Different action shots of men in the Civil War staging friendly-looking fights are shown, as is one shot of a Pennsylvania National Guardsman taking aim at a “crazed Moro” at a 1909 encampment.

A Lancaster Lad Goes to War in 1898 by Clifford B. Weaver (pp. 26-27)
The adventures of Private Peter Allabach, Jr. of Company L, 4th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, are the focus of this article as he made his way toward the Spanish-American War. Two photographs, likely taken at home while on furlough, complete the story.

Stragglers (pp. 28-31)
Eighteen different images comprise the “Stragglers” from this issue. An unidentified Marine officer in his immaculate dress uniform taken in Yokohama, Japan in about 1890 leads off. There are many images of Civil War POWs, including “Happy Family, Cell No. 1” consisting of Confederates captured in Morgan’s Raid and a barefoot Union soldier after his release. One of the images includes “Buckskin Charlie,” a Civil War veteran of the G.A.R, along with two other Southern Utes in a photograph taken in Colorado in the 1880s.

Back Image
The image of a soldier taken with a statue of an elephant on the table next to him reveals that he has “seen the elephant.” This was mid-19th century symbolism meaning that he has seen combat and survived.

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