Military Images

Finding Aid: March/April 1987

The complete issue

Vol. VIII, No. 5
(32 pages)


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Inside

Cover image
The ninth-plate ambrotype on the front cover is of a very young Zouave cadet, taken about 1861.

Editor’s Desk (p. 1)
The editor provides guidance on how to best copy images for submission to Military Images.

Mail Call (p. 3)
Some corrections to captions for some of the Ronn Palm images from the previous issue are noted, along with an explanation of why the magazine stands by the captioning in an article from the November-December 1986 issue.

Passing in Review (pp. 4-5)
A total of seven publications are reviewed in this issue of MI beginning with Bold Dragoon: the Life of J.E.B. Stuart by Emory M. Thomas. This work covers the entire life of Stuart and examines not only his successes, but also his failures as the cavalry chief of the Army of Northern Virginia. Simpson Speaks on History by Col. Harold R. Simspon is an anthology of six of the author’s public presentations on a wide variety of topics that would be entertaining for most readers. Flashman and the Dragoon by George MacDonald Fraser is the seventh memoir by Brigadier Sir Harry Flashman, this time with Flashman ending up in the midst of the Taiping Rebellion in 1860. Two reprinted volumes are reviewed together: The Custer Myth by W.A. Graham and With Custer’s Cavalry by Katherine Gibson Fougera. The first is a comprehensive collection of information about the Battle of Little Bighorn as of 1953 while the second is a memoir of one of Custer’s officer’s wife, providing an excellent glimpse into family life of the cavalry on the Plains. Custer’s Field: “A Scene of Sickening, Ghastly Horror” by Francis R. Taunton in collaboration with Brian C. Pohanka in its third edition is next, attempting to use archaeological as well as contemporary accounts of the battle to explain some of the questions about the battle. Finally, The Man Who Tried to Burn New York by Nat Brandt is reviewed. The book tells the story of Captain Robert Cobb Kennedy, late of the 1st Louisiana Infantry, and how he became engaged in the Confederate secret service plot to burn New York in 1864 in protest against the wealth of the city while the South was suffering from the war.

The Sharps Rifle in the Civil War by Richard Carlile (pp. 6-9)
The favorite weapon of Civil War sharpshooters, the article examines the acquisition of the Sharps rifle by “Berdan’s Sharpshooters” of the 1st and 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters. It began with Private Truman Head, known as “California Joe” of Company C, 1st Regiment of Sharpshooters, who purchased a M1859 model on his own. Not happy with their standard issue Colt five-shot revolving rifle, the men decided they liked the weapon, and Colonel Hiram Berdan pressured for its procurement. To keep it within cost, the rifles ordered by Berdan had some modifications; many Sharps rifles found in images are rarely the Berdan type. The article is accompanied by 12 images which show both Berdan and other manufactures of Sharps rifles.

Some Sailing Men… by John A. Stacey (pp. 10-12)
Eleven different images of sailors from 1866 to World War I show a variety of uniforms, often with non-regulation application of insignia. One photograph shows four soldiers on liberty, two of the soldiers being members of the same ship. They are, however wearing different names on their hat ribbons, as the German vessel Kronen Prinzess Cecilie was taken by the U.S. Navy and renamed the Mount Vernon; the names show the transition from one name to the other. Another image shows the mascot from the U.S.S. Ohio, the pet goat wearing several different naval insignia.

John C. Black: A Medal of Honor Winner from Illinois by Bill McFarland (pp. 13-15)
Beginning with two tintypes of a supposed Jacob Black of the Illinois Greyhounds, the author eventually came to the conclusion that the two images were of the man who eventually became General John C. Black, whose service during the Civil War began with a three-month enlistment in the Zouaves of the 111th Indiana. Afterward, the young man whose family was acquainted with Abraham Lincoln returned to Danville, Illinois and organized what became Company K of the 37th Illinois Infantry. John was the major of the regiment, his brother William a captain, and a step-brother a lieutenant. Both of the brothers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions (William at the Battle of Pea Ridge and John at Prairie Grove), the only pair of brothers other than Thomas and George Custer to be so recognized.

Zou Zou!: More photos of American Zouaves and Chasseurs by Irena Zogoff (pp. 16-21)
A compilation of 18 different images shows the wide variety and popularity of these types of units, from a pair of small boys in Zouave uniform, to a Collis Zouave in an image with his father, to a group of Zouaves frolicking for the camera. Captions to each image provide the reader with information regarding the uniform and its unit identification.

Other Zouave Images: Contemporary Lithographs as a Reference Tool by Howard Michael Madaus (pp. 22-24)
Using lithographs and woodcut images to identify Zouave units rather than only photographic images is the topic of this article. Many of these other types of images were taken from photographs, some of which are lost to history, such as the lithograph of the Tremont Zouaves of Massachusetts which was featured on a songsheet cover early in the Civil War. However, the image probably used to create a lithograph of a Zouave on an envelope is likely taken from an image of First Sergeant Louis N. Tucker of the “Boston Light Infantry” about 1861. There is enough similarity as well as a slogan used by Tucker’s unit (“Death or an Honorable Life”) to assume the connection. What the lithographs show that the photographic images do not is the coloration of the uniforms, allowing the modern viewer a more complete understanding of what these elaborate and unique uniforms looked like, making lithographs another source of information for the identification of Civil War uniforms.

Lt. Sydnum Bridgers: An Officer in the 47th North Carolina Infantry by Barry I. Mickey (p. 25)
The vignette of the soldier shown in the carte de visite image tells the story of a unit that was organized early in 1862 without weapons or many supplies, and did not see any real action until New Bern in May 1863. At Gettysburg, the 47th and Lt. Bridgers was part of Pickett’s Charge, led by General Pettigrew. Bridgers survived that charge, and was one of the 400 men left in his unit. It was in October at Bristoe Station in Virginia that Lt. Bridgers was wounded, and left on the field overnight. Transferred to one of Richmond’s military hospitals, Sydnum Bridgers died a month later.

Stragglers (pp. 27-31)
The “Stragglers” in this issue of Military Images presents eight different images from the humorous to those that have many questions arising from them. One of these is a scene that might be in California; the American flag in the image shows 28 stars under magnification, indicating that it probably comes from the Mexican War era. Another is of a soldier wearing a black hat with an ostrich feather including the letters “RRCS” and epaulettes that are made up of dark tight braid. Two other images show soldiers sitting on the ground; one can see that their boots include hobnails and heelplates.

Back Image
Two unidentified soldiers, one a Confederate and the other a Massachusetts militiaman, surround a sixth-plate daguerreotype of Lt. William Spencer, 2nd U.S. Infantry, from 1855-58.

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