Finding Aid: November/December 1998

The complete issue

Vol. XX, No. 3
(48 pages)

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Cover image
A sixth-plate ambrotype from the Tom Molocea Collection is a circa 1861 portrait of an unknown Buckeye who may be a member of the 36th Ohio Infantry.

Editor’s Desk (p. 3)
The editor observes that this issue marks the anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg, and announces the promotion of John Sickles to Senior Editor of MI “for his years of dedicated contributions to the magazine. John is both a gentleman and a scholar in the best sense of those words.”

Mail Call (pp. 5-6)
Letters include words of praise for “Honored Blades” and the Spanish-American War issue, and a request for a better balance of Union and Confederate images in the magazine.

Passing in Review (pp. 9-10)
Seven publications are mentioned, including Spanish-American War 1898 (Brassey’s) by Ron Field, Civil War Cartridge Boxes of the Union Infantryman (A. Mowbray) by Paul D. Johnson, Volume XIV of North Carolina Troops 1861-1865: A Roster (North Carolina Division of Archives and History) edited by Weymouth Jordan, “Remember You Are Jerseymen!” A Military History of New Jersey’s Troops in the Civil War (Longstreet House) by Joseph Bilby and William Goble and more.

Victims and Survivors: New perspectives on Fredericksburg’s May 1864 photographs by Noel G. Harrison (pp. 11-19)
A comprehensive analysis of several iconic images taken in Fredericksburg, Va., provides new information and scholarship.

Molding a Legend: Images of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry opposite Fredericksburg, Virginia, July 1862 by Eric J. Mink (pp. 20-23)
Five outdoor images of this well-known Iron Brigade regiment are highlighted by the author, an historian with the National Park Service.

My Brother My Enemy: Phillip R. Fendell, Jr., and James R.Y. Fendell by David M. Sullivan (pp. 24-28)
One brother served the Union and the other the Confederacy. Both were Marines and officers. This is their unique story, illustrated with their portraits.

A Letter from Daniel O’Connor, USMC, Reports the North’s Fiasco at Norfolk Navy Yard by John W. O’Connor (pp. 29-31)
O’Connor, a private aboard the Cumberland, described the April 20, 1861, burning of the Yard by its Union occupiers to keep valuable supplies and vessels, including the Merrimack, out of the hands of advancing Confederates. O’Connor shared his observations in a letter written from four days later from Fortress Monroe.

Effects of a Shell…an examination of a controversial Gettysburg photograph by Paul R. Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.S. (pp. 32-33)
The author finds that the visible wounds in an iconic photograph of a dead soldier on the battlefield “is entirely consistent with the trauma induced by the energy of a solid artillery projectile moving with low velocity, high mass and high momentum.”

Light & Shadow: Technical Aspects of Photography and Collecting (p. 34)
Two examples of digital manipulation on the computer show how a damaged image can be restored.

A Postwar Mortality by John Mills Bigham (p. 35)
The author begins this sketch with the subject’s death: “Thomas Robertson Wilson bled to death on May 14, 1871 after violently coughing up a bullet.” A veteran of the 3rd South Carolina Infantry, Wilson suffered wounds in the fighting at Chickamauga, Savage Station and North Anna River. It is likely that the wound suffered in the last engagement named, which occurred on May 25, 1864, caused his death seven years later. The text is illustrated with his wartime portrait.

Brave Walk a Heap: The tragic life of William Henry Walcott, sergeant, Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Artillery, captain, 17th U.S. Infantry by Jeff Kowalis (pp. 36-39)
After Walcott suffered a debilitating leg wound at Gettysburg that resulted in an amputation, his combat career was ended. Though he survived the war, pain from the wound turned him into a raging morphine addict late in life. He died destitute in 1901. Several wartime and postwar portraits illustrate the text.

Uniforms & History by Michael J. McAfee (pp. 40-41)
In “The 18th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regt.” McAfee explores the distinctive uniform and history of this Bay State regiment. The text is illustrated with portraits of James B. Hancock of Company A and Erastus Everson of Company H, who both ranked as first sergeant.

Captain Bob’s Caveat Emptorium (pp. 42-44)
The captain tries to pawn off questionable outdoor images—his last offering before disappearing into the Witness Protection Program for a few issues.

Sutler’s Row (pp. 45-46)

Stragglers (pp. 38-40)
Solo photos from the collections of our readers include James Wilson of the 6th Iowa Infantry, a circa 1903 image of the 58th Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Fort Monroe, Va., Mexican War veteran J.L. Martel, circa 1882, and more.

Back cover
A sixth-plate ambrotype of a well-armed Southern gunner from the Dent “Wildman” Myers Collection, a.k.a. the Gentle General.

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