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Military Images

Finding Aid: September/October 1988

The complete issue

Vol. X, No. 2
(32 pages)


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Inside

Cover image
A young Zouave drummer boy is the featured image, taken from a half-plate ambrotype.

Editor’s Desk (p. 1)
The editor discusses the closing of publication of the magazine Incidents of the War. He reminds the readership of Military Images that smaller magazines like these provide a more substantial glimpse into topics and issues and that the continuation of small subject magazines requires the financial support of those who enjoy and read them. The editor also announces a new feature called “Uniforms and History” by Mike McAfee, West Point Museum curator and frequent contributor to Military Images.

Mail Call (p. 3)
Readers send in letters commending the magazine for past issues, contribute observations, and make some corrections. For example, Don Troiani (noted Civil War artist) identifies an image identified as a Confederate in the May/June 1988 issue as a French officer of the line between 1852 and 1867.

Passing in Review (pp. 4-5)
Seven different publications are presented for review by the readership, beginning with Gray Victory by Robert Skimkin, who wrote a novel changing the result of one battle which leads to a change in the end of the war. Next is Flags of the Confederacy: An Illustrated History by Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. provides background on the development of the colors used by the Confederacy, including those that were eventually not adopted, as well as flags used by different states and major service branches. A Creek Warrior for the Confederacy: the Autobiography of Chief G.W. Grayson, edited by W. David Baird, was originally a family memoir which also provides insight into the Creek engagements in Indian Territory after his posting there as a Confederate officer in 1862. They Fought for the Union by Francis Lord is a reprint of the 1960 Stackpole book that summarized all aspects of the Federal army in a single volume. Next is Danger Beneath the Waves: A History of the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley by James E. Kloeppel, which provides some clarity to the myths surrounding the clash between the Hunley and the U.S.S. Housatonic, the first submarine to sink a surface vessel. War So Terrible: Sherman and Atlanta by James Lee McDonough and James Pickett Jones provides interesting analysis on the fighting and the leadership of both sides of this major campaign; the appendix provides insight into Margaret Mitchell’s depiction of the fighting in Atlanta, and the authors agree she did due diligence to the historical record. The edited and translated reprint of We Were the Ninth, prepared by Frederick Trautman, provides insight into the German-speaking 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It is not a traditional unit history based on official reports, but recollections of many of the men who fought in that unit through the end of their enlistment in 1864, when they decided to return home.

Chasseur, Zouave, Marine: The Incredible Career of John Rapier of Louisiana vignette by David M. Sullivan (pp. 6-7)
John L. Rapier, who enlisted as part of the Louisiana Foot Rifles in April 1861 at the age of 18, had indeed an incredible military career. He began as a chasseur-a-pied, being sent to Richmond after the fighting at First Manassas in September 1861, spending the winter in Fairfax Court House, before moving to the Peninsula and taking part in the fighting at Seven Pines where he was promoted to sergeant major. After being injured at Frayser’s Farm, his unit was reorganized as Coppen’s Zouaves and went on to fight at Second Manassas, Harper’s Ferry, and Sharpsburg; they were renamed the Confederate States Zouave Battalion and Rapier earned a promotion to first lieutenant of Company B. But as the unit went into a defensive position around Richmond, Rapier requested and was given permission to join the Confederate States Marine Corps with the rank of second lieutenant with Company A at Drewry’s Bluff, eventually transferring to Company D, CSMC, at Mobile, Alabama. He was captured when Farragut’s fleet sailed into Mobile Bay, but was able to escape and return to Confederate territory by returning to his family home in Union-held New Orleans. Rapier was given command of the C.S.S. Morgan, which he held until the end of the war.

The Tennessee Bugle Boy: Nathan Dozier of Dibrell’s Brigade vignette by Mike Miner (p. 8)
The images here of Nathan Dozier, Private in the 4th Tennessee Cavalry in a ninth-plate tintype, and George Dibrell, General in the Army of the Tennessee in the only known carte de visite of him in uniform were connected by their paths in war. Originally part of the horse artillery under Nathan Bedford Forrest, by the end of the war, Dozier was bugler for Dibrell and part of the party accompanying President Jefferson Davis in his flight from Richmond.

A Watery Grave at Ball’s Bluff: A Tale of Two Massachusetts Officers vignette by Brian Pohanka (p. 9)
Reinhold Wesselhoeft and Alois Babo were both German-speaking immigrants to the United States, settling in New England. When the Civil War began, 1st Lieutenant Babo and 2nd Wesselhoeft had their images taken in a set of three cartes de visite showing them each individually and one of the two officers together. Both were attached to the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and in October of 1861, found themselves under heavy Rebel fire during the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. Heavy losses of about 150 men included many who drowned; Babo appeared to be shot in the waters of the Potomac and was never recovered, while Wesselhoeft was seen to try and help Babo, his body was recovered downstream a few days later. The inscription on Wesselhoeft’s grave marker in Oak Hill Cemetery includes words to honor his friend who joined him in death.

 What’s Wrong with This Picture? photo analysis by Richard K. Tibbals (pp. 10-13)
Sometimes it’s the way uniforms were distributed. Sometimes it’s the photographer who puts an incorrect era prop in a soldier’s hands to enhance an image. Sometimes it’s an individualist, who is making his own statement by how he wears his uniform. And sometimes it’s total misinterpretation by today’s collectors. The nine images presented here are examples of some of these examples for readers to learn from.

Captain Mathew Nunnaly: Letters from the 11th Georgia Infantry vignette by Keith Bohannon (pp. 14-15)
After having spent about one semester at West Point, Cadet Mat Nunnaly returned home to Monroe, Georgia, taking his place as Captain in the “Walton Infantry” commanded by George T. Anderson. The vignette traces his service from arriving at Strasburg, Virginia, to be part of Jackson’s Army of the Shenandoah, to his writing home to his sister about the devastation he found on the battlefield the day after First Manassas, his unit having missed the battle due to a train accident. Mat was a popular captain, and after falling ill during the first winter of the war in Fairfax Court House, his recovery saw him back with the 11th Georgia in camp at Centreville. They fought their first fight at Dam No. 1, where they remained until called back to Richmond. It was then on to Second Manassas, which Mat missed due to illness, a small role in Fredericksburg as pickets, and then on to the siege of Suffolk, where Mat appeared to attract the ire of General John Bell Hood when his unit retreated under heavy Federal fire. There was no court of enquiry, as the 11th moved out again, towards the second invasion of the North. Captain Mat Nunnaly was killed during the fighting at the Rose Woods and the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, and his remains were brought home to Monroe. The family used an image of Capt. Nunnaly to have a marble monument made; the only difference between the two is the belt buckle, which is of unknown type in the photograph.

Scoundrels from New York and Philadelphia: A Look at New Jersey’s Zouave Regiments unit history by Joseph G. Bilby (pp. 16-24)
Sixteen different photographic images and one engraving accompany this article that traces the two Zouave regiments from New Jersey that had long-term service during the Civil War. The 33rd (Mindill’s Zouaves) and the 35th (Cladek’s Zouaves) were both made up of toughs from New York and Philadelphia who were after the $300 bounty offered before the Federal draft was set in place in New Jersey during the summer and fall of 1863. Competent officers mixed with some hard-to-control troops made for a colorful history of each unit. Both took part in Sherman’s March on Atlanta, with the 33rd coming from XX Corps and the 35th coming from XVI Corps, consistently following Joe Johnston’s Confederates through Georgia, and then taking on John Bell Hood’s soldiers as well. The 33rd New Jersey was one of the first units to enter Savannah, while the 35th New Jersey were sent to Port Royal, South Carolina. The article provides some excerpts from some of the men, giving insight on how these rough men tried to get out of their service, what kind of private property they confiscated on their way from “Atlanta to the Sea,” and how they saw themselves as they marched victorious through the streets of the nation’s capital.

Uniforms and History (p. 25)
This first installment of “Uniforms and History” features the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry (Hawkins’ Zouaves) who served from 1861 to 1863, when they were reorganized as the 17th for the remainder of the war. Like many Zouave units, they were heavily influenced by Elmer Ellsworth’s traveling Zouave Cadets who came to New York in 1860. They did not wear red pants, but narrower blue Zouave pants and sparsely trimmed jackets without tambeaux, as shown in the image that accompanies the article; a detailed description of the Hawkins’ Zouave uniform is provided. Many of their officers had military experience, which gave the unit a favorable edge. They first fought at Forts Hatteras and Clark, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and became the provost guard at Fortress Monroe.

Stragglers (pp. 27-31)
Children dressed in the garb of the Zouave, complete with rifles, in a cabinet card image is one of several different submissions that make up the “Stragglers” feature. Others include a carte de visite that features an excellent view of the M1855 pistol-carbine, two different ninth-plate tintype of Joseph and James Cochrane, brothers who served on the U.S.S. Wabash during the Civil War, as well as two very clear sixth-plate tintypes of unidentified soldiers are some of the other images, including a carte de visite image of a sailor with some Burnside-type sideburns.

Back Image
A fine half-plate tintype of a soldier in the 127th New York Infantry shows he is prepared for winter duty.

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