Military Images

Finding Aid: May/June 1987

The complete issue

Vol. VIII, No. 6
(32 pages)


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Inside

Cover image
This issue’s cover features a Pennsylvania Bucktail holding his Enfield rifle in a sixth-plate tintype.

Editor’s Desk (p. 1)
The editor tells the story of a family treasure that got lost – someone in the family left a photo album of Uncle Isaac who served in the Civil War from 1862 to the end of the war in a train somewhere about 1957. He makes the point that while the images have significant family value, they are not remarkable. Remarkable images are those that provide new insight into the conflict, and the editor estimates that Military Images publishes on average one remarkable image per year. He believes one of these images to be the subject of the article beginning on page 6.

Mail Call (p. 3)
Many readers wrote to congratulate MI on the previous issue, which featured images from the collection of Ronn Palm. One reader provided some additional identifications for some of the images. Additional information regarding John C. Black and his brother William was also provided in a note from Brian Pohanka. One reader complained about the use of the term “kepi” with reference to “forage caps.”

Passing in Review (pp. 4-5)
A trio of reviews are presented in this issue, beginning with Checklist of Western Photographers: A Reference Workbook by Carl Mautz. This booklet intends to list all of the major photographers whose work focused west of the Mississippi in the 19th century. Space is left for new finds, which readers are encouraged to submit to the authors. The reviewer finds a lack of information on the eastern Western states. Next is The Photograph Collector’s Pocket Handbook by Doug Wahlberg, which does not receive high marks from the reviewer. It provides the names and basic biographies of major photographers, but only a range of value for the photographer’s individual work. In the case of Mathew Brady, this was from $50 to $10,000, which does not provide much guidance for collectors. Third in the group is Marylanders in the Confederacy by Daniel D. Hartzler, whose work attempts to list all of the men from Maryland who served in the Confederacy. While the estimate is about 25,000, the author lists 12,000 names with unit, highest rank, Maryland residence, and source of information. Other information that might be of interest (details of service such as wounding or death, battles, etc.) are not included.

A Scene in the Woods…: Analysis of a Rare Gettysburg Photograph by Harry Roach (pp. 6-9)
Published for the first time ever is one of the missing images from Alexander Gardner’s catalog of 1863 Civil War images. Shown along with images 245, 246, and 274 that have been clearly placed on the Rose Farm ground by the previous work of William Frasanito, this article presents Gardner’s stereoview image number 240 from the collection of Jeff Kowalis, as well as two magnified images. One image from the Alexander collection is still missing, however this particular image has been clearly identified as also having been taken from the same area as the previously identified images. The article also includes a map of the area, showing where the bodies of the dead were laid out for burial and where the cameras were likely placed. The article also makes the assertion that the dead were Union soldiers from the brigade led by Colonel John R. Brooks made up of a composite of the 2nd Delaware, 64th New York, 53rd Pennsylvania, part of the 145th Pennsylvania, and part of the 27th Connecticut.

A Soldier of Semmes’s Brigade: Robert N. Richardson, 53rd Georgia Volunteers by Keith Bohannon (p. 10)
This vignette tells the story of a “soldier of Semmes’s Brigade” who was a fatal casualty of the fighting at Rose Woods. Robert N. Richardson was a 38 year old farmer who had enlisted in the Quitman Guards in May 1862. Although ill for some time once he had been in the military, he rejoined his unit and eventually took part in this fighting at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. He was shot in the thigh and eventually removed from the field, only to die in a Union hospital on August 11, 1863.

A Death in the Rose Woods by Orton Begner (p. 11)
A second vignette featuring a fatality from the fighting on the Rose Farm is about Captain Lieutenant Henry V. Fuller of Company F, 64th New York Infantry. The image shows him after his first promotion to the officer ranks in December 1861. Shot during the fighting and carried to the back as far as possible by one of his men, Fuller died on the field, his body being recovered on July 4th. He was buried at home in Little Valley, New York, and was brevetted full colonel in 1865. Members of his unit who survived the war erected a monument in his memory on the Gettysburg battlefield in 1894, only one of four company grade officers so honored.

The Fight for the Rose Woods: A Battle Narrative by Stephen Rogers (pp. 12-13)
This article is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by the author on the 64th New York, which took part in the fighting at Rose Woods as part of Brooke’s brigade, and provides a comprehensive narrative of what fighting took place at the Rose Woods after the Federal troops pushed the Confederates back across the Wheat Field. They were hit hard by the Rebels and began to retreat, only to turn into confusion along their lines. The article includes many recounted stories from survivors, including those left wounded overnight.

“Dear Brother Isaac…”: Letters from George Edgcomb, 15th New York Engineers edited by Edmund Raus (pp. 14-15)
In four letters, accompanied by a number of photographic images, the reader is given a glimpse into the time when the pontoon bridges were constructed across the James River by Union troops, including George Edgcomb, in June 1864. His letters provide comment on the activity in his camp as well as on the upcoming political elections and the possibility of his brother being called up in the next draft call.

The Jackson Guards: Company C, 149th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg by Richard Matthews (pp. 16-25)
A unit history of the Bucktail unit caught up in a controversy as a result of the fighting on the first day at Gettysburg. Calling themselves the “Jackson Guards,” Company C was made up of young men from the Myerstown Academy, with their principal, John Basseler serving as their captain. The article documents the group through training to become a Bucktail rifle brigade through the days leading up to July 1, 1863. The controversy dealt with the loss of the regimental flags during the fighting at the McPherson Farm. Basseler was able to bring the controversy to a conclusion with his collection of various statements from soldiers who were present. The article features 20 images of soldiers who took part in the fighting at the McPherson Farm, and provides a map that shows the positioning of the units on the field, including where the incident with the colors took place.

Bucktail Images by Ronn Palm (pp. 27-29)
Sixteen different images of Bucktail unit soldiers are featured in this pictorial article, with most of the subjects identified.. Ronn Palm provides a brief overview of the history of the Bucktail regiments and the so-called “Bogus Bucktails” who fought at the McPherson Farm as well.

Stragglers (pp. 30-31)
The submissions included in this edition of “Stragglers” includes an oval quarter-plate tintype of a young bugler set in front of a painted camp scene background. Another submission includes four soldiers in their winter coats in what appears to be an impromptu quarter-plate tintype image with many unique details. The last two images are part of “Pop Quiz No. 320.” The two full-body carte de visite images show two members of what is probably a New York militia company from probably the 1880s, complete with fancy feathered hats, intricate outdoor backdrops, and identification by the same photographer.

Back Image
A pair of images grace the back of the issue. One is a sixth-plate daguerreotype of an American dragoon with saber and horse pistols from about 1845-50. The second is an oval tintype image of Sewell Lawrence Fremont, found in the Asheville, NC area; the owners are requesting information about Fremont.

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