Finding Aid: May/June 1981


The complete issue

Vol. 2, No. 6
(32 pages)

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Cover Image
Christian A. Fleetwood, Sergeant Major of the 4th U.S. Colored Troops, recipient of the Medal of Honor for gallantry in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm on September 29, 1864.

Editor’s Page (inside front cover)
The editor provides remarks on the installation of the memorial dedicated to 20th Regiment, New York State Militia, in recognition of its role in the repulse of Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863 on the 118th anniversary of the battle.

Mail Call (p. 2)
Readers to the publication provide corrections to past issues as well as some intriguing possibilities for the technique that created a rare photograph featured in a past “Stragglers” feature.

Robert Ramsey, C.S.M.C by David Sullivan (p. 3)
Two images of the same Confederate States Marine Corps officer, Second Lieutenant Robert Ramsey are featured, allowing the reader to get a rare glimpse at the uniform worn by this branch of Confederate service. The article also gives a narrative of Ramsey’s service record, which saw him in Confederate Marine Corps service from October 1861 to July 1862. He did see distinguished service before, during, and after his stint with the Marines, but he also saw trouble, having two court-martials and several other legal charges brought against him.

Fight of the Crows: The 15th New Jersey Infantry at the Battle of Cedar Creek by Joseph G. Bilby (pp. 4-15)
The author provides a detailed accounting of the fighting in the Shenandoah Valley under General Phil Sheridan that culminated in the Battle of Cedar Creek in mid-October 1864. The reader is provided with the opportunity to read about the experiences of many soldiers from the 15th New Jersey, including officers whose images are featured in the article. Some images of the Valley that were taken at the time are also included. Most striking is the image taken of Sergeant Edwin Ulmer, which shows the scars from his hip amputation. Ulmer was one of eight men who survived this extreme surgery. A reunion photograph taken in 1907 accompanies an “Epilogue” which outlines the post-war lives of some of the surviving soldiers from the article.

Black Troops in the U.S. Military, 1862-1918 by Don Dillon (pp. 16-25)
A pictorial with 22 different images, this article ties in with the cover image and gives an overview of different aspects of black service in the U.S. military. The article is broken up into three sections and features the uniforms, individual images, and a discussion of the changes seen in how the military utilized this group of soldiers. For example, a “before and after” series of cartes de visite of Drummer Jackson were produced by abolitionists during the Civil War. The service of blacks between 1866 and 1899 included the “Buffalo” soldier and the arrival of the first black cadet at West Point, featured in an informal photograph of the Class of 1880. The era of 1900 to 1918 saw the restriction of blacks from combat service under Woodrow Wilson, but this did not keep the black soldier or sailor from participating in the U.S. military, as shown by the three photographs at the end of the article.

Passing in Review (p. 25)
Four very different books are reviewed in this issue of Military Images, beginning with Fritz Nagel’s work entitled Fritz: The World War I Memoirs of a German Lieutenant. It recounts the author’s service in a combat-support unit with humor and unexpected tales of his activities, to include smuggling his own wife into his encampment for a five-week visit. The second offering is Collection, Use, and Care of Historical Photographs by Robert A. Weinstein and Larry Booth; while not focused on military photography, it does provide an excellent guide to careful preservation of historical images. Third is the book Muddy Glory: American ‘Indian Wars’ in the Philippines, 1899-1935 by Russell Roth. The book traces the development of the American fighting force from smaller Indian conflicts to one that provided the basis for leadership in World War Two, making a parallel with the Vietnam conflict. Last is Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg by Richard J. Sommers, a highly researched academic work which focuses on four days of fighting focusing on Cockade City in a highly readable text.

The 29th Connecticut Infantry by William Gladstone (pp. 26-27)
The author of this brief regimental history purchased five stereo photographs that led him to investigate the black unit they documented: the 29th Connecticut Infantry. The three outdoor images shown are of the unit upon their deployment to Beaufort, South Carolina in April 1864. The stereo photographs are attributed to Sam A. Cooley; other sets of the images are held by both the National Archives and the Library of Congress.

Stragglers (pp. 28-30)
This issues has a combined 14 different images submitted by various readers. Of note is a series of three that depict the same individual (James Krom of the 120th New York Infantry): prior to enlistment, about the time of his wounding at Gettysburg, and after promotion to sergeant. Another is Major Walter A. Van Rensselaer from the unit mentioned on the Editor’s Page of the current issue. A group image of what appears to be Confederates is offered with a request for any clarifying information.

Rear Image
The ninth-plate ambrotype of this soldier, Private Luther Ladd of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry, was used as a negative to reproduce this photograph. It was also used to create memorial issues throughout the Civil War. Private Ladd was killed in the Baltimore riots of April 1861 as his unit made its way to Washington, D.C.

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