Military Images

Finding Aid: Winter 2021

Vol. XXXIX, No. 1
(80 pages)

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Inside

Cover image
A quarter-plate tintype from the Rick Brown Collection of American Photography pictures an infantry fifer standing with his fife.

Table of Contents (p. 1)

Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
In “Musings on Interpretation,” the editor discusses the word in the middle of the publication’s motto: Showcase. Interpret. Preserve.

Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes praise for Ron Maness’s story about James Taylor Ames, “Agent of the Cotton War,” the identification of a soldier pictured in a post-mortem portrait, and an opinion on modern colorization of antique photographs.

Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
A tree map diagram displays the number of casualties in the major battles of 1861. The numbers were originally reported in Lt. Col. William F. Fox’s Regimental Losses in the American Civil War.

Passing in Review (p. 6)
The trio of books reviewed include the latest volume of Colonels in Blue (McFarland & Company, Inc.) by Roger D. Hunt, American Citizen (Sunbury Press, Inc.) by Benjamin E. Myers, and Civil War Hard Images, Volume 2—Union (SoldierCollectibles.com) by Ben L. Pauley and Chris Anderson.

Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-9)
In “Identifying an Officer Pictured in a Library of Congress Negative,” Luther recounts a journey of discovery that included stops along the way at the Medford Historical Society and Museum in Massachusetts and the MOLLUS-Mass Civil War Collection at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 10)
A sixth-plate daguerreotype from the Paul Reeder Collection features a mounted trooper dressed in a uniform with a decidedly Hussar influence.

The Honored Few (p. 12)
Sergeant Henry F.W. Little of the 7th New Hampshire Infantry received the Medal of Honor for gallantry on the front lines during an attack by Confederates north of the James River in Virginia on Oct. 7, 1864. This is his story.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 14)
During a brief period in late 1864, a father and son served as officers aboard the side-wheel steamer Quaker City. James Madison Frailey, a career navy man, commanded the vessel. His son, Acting Asst. Paymaster Leonard August Frailey, was at the very beginning of a 41-year stint in the Navy. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Citizenry (p. 16)
In “Palms of Victory,” we meet Mary Dines, who escaped slavery in Maryland and fled to Washington, D.C., where she spent time at a Freedman’s camp and had the opportunity to sing for President Abraham Lincoln. Her story was told in the 1942 book They Knew Lincoln by John E. Washington.

Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds by Perry M. Frohne (pp. 18-20)
In “Little-Known Fraud: The Remounted Albumen,” Frohne shares tips to spot cartes de visite prints that have been carefully removed from mounts and replaced on new mounts to make them more saleable.

NHV: New Hampshire volunteers during the Civil War (pp. 23-35)
Representative images and stories of 25 Granite State soldiers capture the spirit, sacrifice and contribution of New Hampshire to the Union armies in the eastern and western theaters. Among the stories included is 1st Lt. Alfred B. Seavey of the 15th New Hampshire Infantry, who picked off a Confederate at Port Hudson, La., Pvt. Mark H. Winkley, who spent most of his enlistment on detached duty as a nurse, and 2nd Lt. Charles A. Hale of the 5th New Hampshire Infantry, who fought at Gettysburg and later returned as a pioneer battlefield guide.

New Hampshire’s Distinctive Caps by C. Paul Loane (p. 36)
The Granite State provided its volunteer regiments with caps marked with the letters NHV. The author offers an overview of the distinctive cap, illustrated with a pristine example from his collection, which belonged to a member of the 15th New Hampshire Infantry.

Material Culture by Ron Field (pp. 37-42)
In “Uniforms of the Granite State,” Field examines the varied uniforms supplied to New Hampshire troops.

Fifers (pp. 43-51)
A gallery of images collected in collaboration with Editor Dale Nielsen of the Facebook group “The Image Collector” and contributions by collectors, reviewed by Contributing Editor Chris Nelson, is focused on soldiers pictured with their fifes. The majority of images are individual Union portraits. One Confederate image features a fifer posed with his instrument and a Bowie knife.

Morgan’s Lightning Strikes by Dave Batalo and Ben Greenbaum (pp. 52-56)
An unpublished likeness of George A. Ellsworth, John Hunt Morgan’s master of telegraphic communications, is featured here along with a narrative of his career as a telegrapher. Ellsworth, a Canadian national, was Morgan’s secret weapon in raids against Union outposts in Kentucky and Tennessee. Ellsworth’s gained his reputation for hacking into federal telegraph wires.

When Yellow Is Black and Blue Is White: Understanding color within the confines of the wet plate process by Elizabeth A. Topping (pp. 57-60)
Wet plate photography was sensitive only to blue light, which created significant challenges for photographers seeking to satisfy demanding consumers. To compensate for the limitations of the process, photographers needed to understand how to work within nature’s laws to create a realistic portrait, and to coach clients on what to wear and how to dress. The latter instructions proved helpful to civilians who had freedom to dress for the camera, but not as useful to military men constrained by uniforms that conformed to regulations.

Restrained vs. Martial: Masculine ideals in Civil War photographs by Austin Sundstrom (pp. 62-64)
Categorizing Civil War portraits by the way soldiers conveyed their masculinity is, according to the author, a less-traveled path in classifying such images. Here. The concepts of restrained and martial are defined, with examples of each from The Liljenquist Family Collection at the Library of Congress.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (p. 65)
Included are portraits of a group of soldiers in a camp band, a hospital steward from the 9th New York Infantry (Hawkins’ Zouaves), a young clarinetist, and a view of Lawrence, Kan., two years after the devastating Quantrill’s Raid.

The Montage by Tom Glass (pp. 66-69)
Overlooked and undervalued by today’s collectors, montages of military officers and political figures of the Union and Confederacy were highly collectible during the Civil War. The author documents a dozen images of this genre.

Revealing the Hidden Beauty of an Ambrotype by Adam Ochs Fleischer (pp. 70-72)
Using a scanner equipped with a film negative feature, the author used this setting to scan an ambrotype of a sailor. The result was a scan that revealed stunning details not visible in the original image.

The 10th New York Cavalry at Gettysburg: Investigating the origins of three similar albums by Kyle M. Stetz (pp. 73-77)
Three surviving carte de visite albums filled with images of identified troopers of the 10th New York Cavalry are at the heart of this investigation. The author’s research reveals where and when they were taken, why these specific individuals were photographed, and the probable identity of the photographer.

Behind the Backdrop: Origins, artistry and photographers by Adam Ochs Fleischer (pp. 78-79)
In “The Augusta or Portland, Maine, Backdrops,” Fleischer examines the distinctive painted canvases connected to portraits of Maine soldiers.

The Last Shot by Mike Fitzpatrick (p. 80)
A ninth-plate tintype from the author’s collection pictures a young soldier with a greenback stuffed into his jacket.

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