Military Images

Finding Aid: Sept./Oct. 1982

1982-v4-02-iv-cover

The complete issue

Vol. 4, No. 2
(32 pages)

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Inside

Cover Image
A full-plate ambrotype that wraps from front to back of the issue features a militia company with band at Niagara Falls. The image was taken at some point between 1854 and 1870.

Editor’s Corner (inside front cover)
The winner of the first issue is announced, and some insight into the results of the survey is given, with more results promised in the future.

Mail Call (pp. 2-3)
Several different types of responses are included in this edition of “Mail Call.” Several readers sent points of clarification on rifles, insignia, and identifications. Two different letters are examples of how family histories can sometimes detour from reality, with readers providing strong evidence that show what really happened to an individual, or who an individual in an image really was. Two letters also refer to the problem of reproducing old images, including one reader whose ambrotype was broken by a photographer in an attempt to copy it. A response to a reader also introduces the “Vignette” feature, which will provide a short biographic article focusing on an image of interest to readers.

Passing in Review (p. 4)
Five separate reviews are presented to the readership, beginning with Bringing up the Rear: A Memoir by S.L.A. Marshall. Edited by Cate Marshall, this work features reminiscences of “Slam” from the chase of Pancho Villa to Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli Wars of the 1970s, providing insight into the work of this soldier-historian-correspondent. Next is Civil War Corps Badges and Other Related Awards, Badges, and Medals of the Period by Stanley S. Phillips, which provides an excellent reference for collectors of these items. The book includes period images, current photographs, and advertisements for the commercially available insignia as well. Third in review is Custer Legends by Lawrence A. Frost, who puts to rest much of the “gossip, slander and innuendo” surrounding George A. Custer. Next is Hands Across the Wall by Stan B. Cohen, who provides readers a pictorial of the “Golden” and “Diamond” reunions at Gettysburg in 1913 and 1938. Finally, is General John Sedgwick: The Story of A Union Corps Commander by Richard Elliott Winslow III, providing a solid biography of a solid commander.

Vignette: The Rescue of Lieutenant Gilmore by John M. Carroll (p. 5)
A photograph of the rescued men led by Lt. J.C. Gilmore shows their condition upon reaching safety with an American flag they crafted while in captivity. Gilmore and a landing party of 14 were sent in April 1899 to find and rescue a group of Spanish soldiers who were under siege by the Filipino insurgents. Gilmore and his men were captured by Emilio Aguinaldo himself, and given good treatment until handed over to General Tinio. All of the Americans were rescued by Col. Luther Hare and his 33rd Texas Infantry, who received a promotion to brigadier for his action.

U.S. Army Uniforms of the Civil War, Part V: The Overcoat by Michael J. McAfee (pp. 6-11)
With the use of 16 different images, the author provides a discussion of history, regulation wear, and individual use of the Federal overcoat. Two different types of sky-blue kersey coats emerged for the enlisted man: single breasted with a shorter cape for infantry and double breasted with a longer cape for the cavalry. The officer variety was to be closed with frogs and loops as opposed to buttons, and was to be of a dark blue color. The major challenge facing Quartermaster Montgomery Meigs was the quick production of these coats before the start of cold weather; it was an impossibility and much leeway was given to the manufacture of these essential garments, although it was decided that the color gray would be avoided. The accompanying images show the wide variety of overcoats, sometimes showing that the cape, which was removable, could also be worn on its own, and there were many individual variations in how the coat was worn. For example, to make officers less conspicuous in the field, they were often permitted to wear the light blue overcoat.

Surgeon of the 20th by Seward R. Osborne (pp. 12-13)
Describing the career of Robert Loughran of the 20th New York State Militia, the author provides a glimpse into the career of a regimental physician. Starting off as a Surgeon’s mate in early 1861 and ending the Civil War as a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, Loughran’s first experience with the 20th in the war was after Second Manassas, where casualties as high as 50% were experienced. As a Mason, Loughran was able to stay behind Confederate lines in safety for over a week as he tended to the wounded. He was also in charge of the hospital set up at the Lutheran Theological Seminary on the first day of fighting at Gettysburg, suffering himself only the loss of his horse and a flask of whiskey. Eventually, Loughran was assigned to set up the hospital at City Point, Virginia, which is not only described in the article, but accompanied by a drawing of the site that was done for Loughran at the time.

Guy Eisenhuth Sees the Elephant edited by Wayne Eisenhuth (pp. 14-15)
A humorous accounting of his grandfather’s service in World War One, the reader finds out that a boy of 16 could get into the Army by drawing the number “18” on his shoe and thereby truthfully swear that he was “over 18” when questioned by recruiting officials. Guy Eisenhuth became a driver during the war, and recounts several tales of driving the officers as well as driving an ambulance. At one point, he was designated the unit’s cook and created a dish made of beans cooked in French wine that knocked “the whole gang as stiff as goats” when served. The article does describe scenes with “Dutchmen” and some harrowing experience of “seeing the elephant” as related by Eisenhuth to his grandson.

Civil War Photo Maps by William Gladstone (pp. 16-19)
This article provides a great deal of insight into the Civil War developments that led to the application of photographic technology to the art of cartography. Maps are critical in the pursuit of war and the Civil War was no exception. Tracing the innovations by Michler, Margedant, and Campbell, illustrations are included that show the reader examples of the development of these new technical applications. The best example of how this culminated is the story of the map found on the body of Confederate General John R. Chambliss in August 1864, which showed the fortifications and important features surrounding Richmond. Using the photo copy method, reproductions of this map were distributed to all Union commanders within two days.

Corps Badges of the Spanish-American War by Robert Borrell, Sr. (pp. 20-22)
This photo gallery features 11 different men who served in the Spanish-American War, both in Cuba and the Philippines. Accompanied by a silhouette chart of all 20 corps devices and a close-up of a rare artillery badge, the article shows how the badge developed from its Civil War origins. While the badge shape itself changed, the use of red-white-blue to show division within a corps was still used. Some soldiers chose to wear gold or yellow metal versions instead of the felt variety.

Fighting Yankees: A Statistical Analysis of Late-War Uniforms in the Eastern Theater by Philip Katcher (pp. 24-27)
Similar to a previous article in Military Images, the author takes a look at the typical Union soldier from the Army of the Potomac between 1863 and 1865 to assess what really was typical for the enlisted soldier. The methodology is discussed and the study reveals what was common wear for vests, hats, cap insignia, coats, trousers, accoutrements, and miscellaneous items such as footwear or knapsacks. An unanticipated finding was that more men wore gaiters than was expected, and none of the images showed a man with his trousers tucked into his socks, despite paintings and literature of the time describing otherwise. One of the photographs included with the article (but outside of the scope of the survey) is an 1862 photograph of a soldier at Manassas Junction, the only known image of a soldier with trousers in socks known.

Stragglers (pp. 28-30)
Seven different stragglers are included in this edition’s feature. One collector requests additional information about an unusual Massachusetts militiaman’s uniform, while another alerts readers to a theft of a ninth-plate ambrotype of Luther H. Clapp of the 37th Virginia Infantry. A carte de visite image of Dr. Mary Walker is shared, complete with a mat made up of postage stamps of the Medal of Honor recipient. A quiz regarding an image purported to be a post-battle image at Devil’s Den asks readers to identify two major inconsistencies in the image. The final image appears to show a number of men at “Pine Camp” perched on what look much more like cooking appliances than the actual latrines that they are.

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