Finding Aid: July/August 1984


The complete issue

Vol. VI, No. 1
(32 pages)

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Cover imageThis fifth anniversary issue features many of the covers of past issues. A total of 15 covers are presented on the cover and the back of this issue of Military Images.

Editor’s Desk (p. 1)
The editor congratulates the readership for the magazine’s success in a competitive market, as it is the readers who contribute to the magazine and provide the source of its success. A sampling of future articles is discussed, and the editor requests images of military men and their wives and sweethearts for another much requested pictorial of these images.

Mail Call (p. 2)
Along with applause for the magazine in general and a few articles in particular, the editor is asked to provide the address for a publication reviewed in a previous issue. Two organizations (The Friends of Fort Davis National Historic Site and the “Save the Flags” program for conservation of flags from Pennsylvania military units) request donations from the readership.

Passing in Review (p. 3)
There are three publications reviewed in this issue of MI. The first is War in the Modern Great Power System, 1495-1975 by Jack S. Levy. The work is one of political science, and attempts to use balance of power theory to more adequately determine the causation of war. Although there are some aspects of the book that the reviewer found interesting, it is not a work that would be of great interest to most readers of MI. Next is The Guns of Port Hudson, Vol. I: the River Campaign, February-May 1863 by David C. Edmonds, which outlines “the naval and military maneuvers leading up to the siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana.” The third review is of Fort McHenry: Home of the Brave by Norman G. Rukert. The author provides a thorough and engaging 200 year history of Fort McHenry, including its use as a prison in the Civil War and as a hospital during World War One. The work includes photographs, drawings, and archeological finds.

Blue Bonnets Over the Border: The 79th New York Highlanders in the Civil War by Joseph G. Bilby (pp. 5-15)
The article traces the history of the 79th New York Militia, composed of mostly Scotsmen, in their three year enlistment in the U.S. army. Beginning as a unit known as the “Cameron Highlanders” that wore kilts as part of their parade dress and tartan trousers (known as “trews”) as a fatigue item, the 79th took on Federal service in May 1861. The detailed article, which describes some of the heroic as well as some of the humorous actions of the Highlanders, follows them from their fighting under Colonel James Cameron (the younger brother of the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron) who fell at Bull Run in 1861 and their mutiny afterwards, to their service in South Carolina under Colonel Addison Farnsworth, who fell injured during the Second Battle of Bull Run. The men of the 79th were engaged in the fighting at Chantilly that saw the loss of their own General Stevens and that of General Phil Kearney. They fought with Ambrose Burnside at Antietam, and were returned to him after service at Vicksburg to follow him through Tennessee and fight at Knoxville. The Highlanders’ last fighting was in the Wilderness, being called to perform guard duty during the height of fighting at the “Bloody Angle.” After this, the majority of the regiment returned to New York, as their three year commitments were up, and the remaining new recruits were given furlough. New recruits were sought, and the new 79th Highlanders returned to Virginia, to participate in action at Petersburg, which they occupied after Lee’s retreat. A number of images accompany the article, including a side-bar vignette which tells the story of Pvt. James Berry, Company D, 79th New York Infantry.

Major Babbitt and the Alamo “Hump” by Kevin R. Young (pp. 16-17)
Most people recognize the structure of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas by its distinctive parapet, or hump. But most people do not know is that the Alamo chapel was given that feature in 1848 when Quarter Master General Thomas Jessup rejected Major Edwin Burr Babbit’s suggestion to raze the structure and build new structures to house U.S. Army quarters in its stead. The chapel’s nave was never finished and remained without a roof from its construction in 1795. It was during a title dispute over the ownership between the Army and the Catholic Church of the old chapel that Babbitt completed the roof, which required the addition of the hump and two more windows on the second floor. Ironic then, that the men who sought refuge in the chapel during Santa Ana’s attack in 1836, would likely not recognize the structure if they saw it today with the feature that makes it so identifiable to visitors to San Antonio in our time.

Vignette: Robert C. Curry, Company K, 4th New York Infantry edited by James Paradis (pp. 18-19)
Three letters and an image of Robert C. Curry provide a unique and authentic glimpse into the life of an ordinary infantry soldier, complete with the original misspellings. One discovers that the living comrades of the deceased often pitched in financially to send the bodies back to their families, causing Curry to send home less money than he had wanted to send. In the last letter he sent a variety of rose home to Elizabeth, who he “loves … as a brother” and asks for his mother to send “refreshments” as they are “always very acceptable to me.” Robert Curry was killed in action at South Mountain, and is buried at Antietam National Cemetery.

“They were well thought of…”: The Veteran Reserve Corps, 1863-1866 by Philip Katcher (pp. 20-24)
As Confederate Lt. General Jubal Early swept down through the Shenandoah Valley and threatened the city of Washington itself, his men noted that the defenders of the city were dressed in unusual uniform, and that they appeared to be “city or town forces” preparing their defenses. Major General Robert Rodes threw out skirmishers directed to take one fortification, but were quickly and unexpectedly pushed back. What the Confederates did not know was that these were the men of the Veteran Reserve Corps. They were veterans that fought and were injured in past campaigns and although not able to perform hard marches or long exposure to the elements, they still had plenty of fight left in them, and served well in the defense of Washington. The article provides descriptions of the VRC uniforms for both enlisted men and their officers, and presents nine images, including a shot of VRC men acting as the honor guard at the reviewing stand during the Grand Review of the Army in May 1865.

Vignette: Robert Morton, 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery by Alan J. Sessarego (p. 25)
Two carte de visite images of Robert Morton introduce the reader to a black boy too young to serve with a rifle, and whose role in the Civil War was as a servant to Captain Robert Potter of the 2nd Connecticut. Servants and cooks from both sides of the Civil War were often these unknown black youngsters frequently seen only on the fringes of images of the time, and whose stories remain untold.

Name That General! by Chris Nelson (p. 27)
The person who can name all 144 Union generals correctly and submit their list first can win a one year extension to his/her subscription to Military Images. A set of five clues is given to start the search; answers will be presented in the next issue. The original is from a carte de visite and Military Images reproduced it at twice its actual size.

Stragglers (pp. 29-31)
The collection of straggler images begins with a full page showing a sixth-plate daguerreotype of a Confederate Zouave taken by George Cook in Charleston, South Carolina that is not from the “Charleston Zouaves.” Readers are asked to provide any identification they may have. Other images include some humorous shots such as a headless Union officer holding his head(s) in each hand, a 1890s image of a cadet from Girard College in Philadelphia, and two soldiers with unique (and unconventional) additions to their uniforms.

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