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Military Images

Our Digital Preservation Effort

The toughest part of my job may surprise you—fielding specific search requests. Want to know how many times the 54th Massachusetts Infantry is mentioned in all of our issues? How about the 6th Virginia Cavalry? I couldn’t tell you without a huge investment in time.

The root of the problem is that there has been no easy way to search our 200-plus issues archive. My predecessors, to their credit, anticipated the need, and created two indexes: one for stories and another for regiments. But they were not maintained and are now out of date. A substantial effort is required to bring them to current times. And they’re not digital native.

I’ve been concerned about how to make 40 years of content available since becoming editor.

Our first effort to address the problem was to create finding aids. We began cataloging in November 2015 and completed the work last December. These aids can now be browsed by volume by volume and issue number in the Back Issues section of our site. Though these finding aids do not satisfy larger search needs, they do document the contents of each issue.

What we really needed was a fully searchable digitized collection. I investigated a few options early on in my tenure, but could not find a way forward.

Everything changed on Sept. 26, 2016, with an email from Robert Sedgwick, a Senior Editor at the non-profit digital library Journal Storage, or JSTOR. “I write today to invite your publication, Military Images, to join our archive,” Sedgwick stated. He added, “Participation in the archive is by invitation, and Military Images was selected after a careful review of its publication history, as well as recommendations from academic librarians and scholars.”

I accepted the offer and soon the archive of printed magazines was in the hands of JSTOR staff. They scanned and converted each page to optical character recognition, then made everything searchable on JSTOR.org. The work finished last month.

The JSTOR team has my eternal gratitude for preserving Military Images for all time.

Thanks to their efforts, Military Images can be searched by anyone. Modest fees apply to download stories and issues. So go forth and explore! Visit jstor.org/journal/militaryimages to begin searching. Before you do, I recommend our guide for how to get the most out of your JSTOR visit. It is available on militaryimages.com.

Oh, and the answers to those questions? The 54th Massachusetts appears 22 times, and the 6th Virginia Cavalry makes 14 appearances.

Ball’s Bluff is Nominee for 2017 AHF Award

More than two years ago, when Ken Fleming first approached Military Images about telling the story of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff through the portraits and stories of those who were there, we knew it was a unique way to explore this unusual engagement.

Turns out we were not alone! The fine folks at the Army Historical Foundation (AHF) notified us today that our story, “Exhilaration and Anguish at Ball’s Bluff,” is a finalist in their annual Distinguished Writing Awards competition.

The AHF was “established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this nation. Our funding helps to refurbish historical Army buildings, acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals.”

Military Images is honored to be a finalist. Congratulations to Ken Fleming for his vision and Jim Morgan for writing the main story.

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Franklin Civil War Show: Champ Ferguson’s Last Days

It seems somehow appropriate that while at the Franklin Civil War Show we should scan this carte de visite of Tennessee’s Samuel “Champ” Ferguson. In August 1865, he posed for this portrait with his guards from the 9th Michigan Cavalry in Nashville for photographer C.C. Hughes. Ferguson, a Confederate guerrilla leader in Tennessee, is the tall man in the middle. A military tribunal convicted him on 53 counts of murder, and he was hanged in October 1865.

Ferguson was one of many Southerners who stood before military tribunals. The best known is Henry Wirz of Andersonville notoriety. For more information, read this article: https://www.nps.gov/ande/learn/historyculture/wirztribunal.htm

The show was great for Military Images: Hanging our with old friends, making news ones, scanning some incredible images and setting a one-day record for subscriptions. From the team at MI, a big thanks to all!

Young Historians Receive Notification (and the MI Pin!)

In tomorrow’s mail, we’ll send out formal notification to the first six winners in our Young Historians program. Each package contains an announcement letter and the coveted MI pin! The letter says it all:

On behalf of the team at Military Images magazine, I offer my hearty congratulations on your selection as one of our Young Historians. As a result, you will receive a complimentary 1-year subscription to our magazine. Please accept the enclosed pin as a token of our appreciation.

You were selected as a Young Historian because your Civil War story inspired us! A big thanks to [NAME OF PERSON], who nominated you for this honor.

Your first issue will be mailed early next month. If you would like to receive the digital edition, please send your email address to militaryimages@gmail.com.

Our Young Historians program is part of an ongoing effort to educate and raise awareness about the Civil War. The program is funded by the generosity of Kevin Canberg, a longtime subscriber and contributor.

We sincerely hope that the stories you read and the images you view will deepen your appreciation of this landmark event in the history of our country. We also hope the magazine encourages you to learn more about the Civil War and American history.

If you’re interested in participating in the program as a donor or participant, please contact militaryimages@gmail.com.

Results of Our 2017 Young Historians Initiative

Recipient Joseph Sorace with one of his Civil War heroes.

Our 2017 Young Historians Initiative has ended with the recognition of six students, selected from a group of nominees across the country. Each will receive a formal notification letter and an enamel MI pin, and their 1-year subscriptions will begin with the next issue:

  • Holden Hankins of Zionsville, Ind., is thoroughly knowledgable about the war and is a strong critical thinker to boot.
  • Thomas Holland of Newport News, Va., has a favorite Civil War spot— The Railroad Cut at Gettysburg.
  • Lane Lackey of Bowling Green, Ky., is the great-grandson of a World War II veteran.
  • Joseph Sorace of Independence, Ohio, has traveled to numerous battlefields with his family, and has a special place in his heart for Gettysburg.
  • Ryan Tapee of Jacksonville, Fla., told his father that he felt the battlefield of Gettysburg, noting it was eerily quiet and heavy.
  • Ryan Walker of Santa Anna, Texas, spends countless hours poring over Civil War books.
The mission of the Young Historians Initiative, the first in the history of Military Images, is to encourage boys and girls to study Civil War history. The funds for the initiative were made available through the generosity of subscriber and contributor Kevin Canberg, to whom we are grateful.

Magazine on a Mission

You may have noticed content from our magazine in other Civil War publications. For example, The Civil War Monitor publishes an occasional series, Faces of War, based on images that have appeared in MI. The magazine of the Civil War Trust, Hallowed Ground, also includes an MI feature.

What is the sharing is all about? Aside from the obvious promotional efforts, there is a more substantial reason that is at the heart and soul of our magazine.

The reason is our mission—to showcase, interpret and preserve Civil War portrait photography. These unusual images are a relatively new to our eyes. For a century after the end of the war, the vast majority were hidden away in albums in attics and basements. A small number were published by veterans during their lifetimes in books and magazines—but they were relatively few compared to the overall number in existence.

Beginning the late 1950s and the 1960s, following Bruce Catton’s popular histories of the war, the centennial and the passing of the last living veterans, these singular portraits began to show up at flea markets, antique shops and other sales.

Today, they are highly collectible. And we’ve made it our mission to document as many as possible. We’ve been at this since 1979.

So, the next time you see a portrait of a Union or Confederate soldiers, remember them and their service. And also think about what MI is doing to keep their faces and stories alive.

Thank you!

Ushering in a New Era of Soldier Identification

The face recognition technology used in CWPS displays unique reference points used for comparison to other images. Betaface.com.

Back in February at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, I glimpsed the future of soldier photo identification. In the conference room of a building on campus, professor Kurt Luther brought our team up to date on CivilWarPhotoSleuth.com (CWPS).

In this moment, I realized that the time-honored process of soldier identification evidenced on the pages of this magazine since it’s founding had met the Digital Age.

Kurt is the founder of CWPS, and Military Images is a proud partner.

I came to know Kurt three years ago at the 2014 Gettysburg Show, where we had a great conversation amidst the hustle and bustle of activity. We shared our enthusiasm for Civil War portrait photography, and I came away deeply impressed by his grit and determination to identify unknown soldiers and sailors. And, Kurt was friendly and engaging to boot.

Our conversation paved the way for Photo Sleuth, Kurt’s regular column in MI. Since its debut in the Winter 2015 issue, Photo Sleuth has explored concepts, methods and tools through case studies and other means. The columns have provided a tremendous boost to photo sleuths of all stripes, and I’ve found them incredibly helpful in my own research.

Kurt’s work builds on the traditional approaches and processes familiar to anyone who has attempted to put a name to the face of an unknown Civil War soldier: Basic observations of uniforms, equipment and back drops, provenance and painstaking research using primary documents, journals, books, databases and other sources. I am reminded of many hours spent flipping through pages of regimental histories, searching faces on the American Civil War Research Database (HDS), and reaching out to fellow collectors through email and on Facebook—all in anticipation of that Zen moment when a rock-solid identification is made.

CivilWarPhotoSleuth.com is the next advancement in the identification process. CWPS brings together photo archives, research tools and online community to increase identifications and support new scholarship related to Civil War portrait photography.

Turn to Kurt’s column on page 18 for details about this exciting new tool. And if you are planning to visit this year’s Gettysburg Show from June 24-25, join Kurt and I at the MI table for a live demo. Oh, and bring an unidentified photo with you!

Together, I hope we can put even more names to faces of the unknowns in blue and gray.

Finding Aid: July/August 2002

The complete issue

Vol. XXIV, No. 1
(40 pages)

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Cover image
carte de visite from the collection of Helder Costa pictures Robert Fletcher, West Point Class of 1868.

Table of Contents (p. 1)

Mail Call (pp. 2-3)
Feedback includes comments about the makes and models of guns featured in the last issue, and the identification of a soldier in one portrait—Col. Matthew McClennan of the 138th Pennsylvania Infantry.

Passing in Review (pp. 4-5)
Seven publications are listed, including The Boys Who Went to War From Columbia University, 1861-1865 (Thomas Publications) by William C. Floyd and Paul Gibson, Gangrene and Glory, Medical Care During the American Civil War (University of Illinois Press) by Frank R. Freemon, Gettysbirg—The First Day (University of North Carolina Press) by Harry W. Pfanz, Uniforms of the Civil War (Lyons Press) by Robin Smith and Ron Field, New Hampshire in the Civil War (Arcadia Publishing) by Bruce D. Heald, PhD., All for the Regiment: The Army of the Ohio, 1861-1862 (University of North Carolina Press) by Gerald J. Prokopowicz and Battles & Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. 5 (University of Illinois Press) edited by Peter Cozzens.

The Auction Block (p. 6)
A sampling of sales from the popular auction site eBay is included.

“Regulars, By God” (pp. 7-9)
Portraits and brief accounts of the lives and military service of 7 soldiers, including Brig. Gen. Roger Jones Jr., 2nd Lt. Robert Fletcher of the 1st U.S. Artillery, Lt. Col. David Hammett Brotherton of the 25th U.S. Infantry, 1st lt. Tillinghast L’Hommedieu of the 4th U.S. Cavalry, Lt. Col. Andrew Hickenlooper, 1st Lt. James Calhoun of the 7th U.S. Cavalry and Maj. Gen. Harry Foote Hodges.

A Volunteer Joins the Regulars by Mike Fitzpatrick (p. 10-14)
Augustus Chouteau Paul, the son and grandson of career army officers, served in various capacities with the 2nd Kentucky Infantry (U.S.) and as a staff officer. His post-war career in the army ended abruptly in 1881 when he was court-martialed and dismissed for drunkenness. Several photographs illustrate the text, including an autographed carte de visite of Paul and an outdoor image of him with other soldiers at “Starvation Rock” in the Black Hills in September 1876.

Cpl. Young and the 18th PVC by Thomas J. Moeller (pp. 15-18)
The story of Robert J. Yong of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry details his service in the regiment. It includes an anecdote about a fall from a horse that might have saved his life. Portarits of Young and his wife, Emma Sommers, are included. Portraits of 10 of Young’s comrades in arms are also featured: Capt. Enjos J. Pennypacker, Cpl. John Hoffacker, Capt. Samuel T. Tresouthick, Maj. Harvey B. Van Vorhis, Lt. Col. William P. Brinton, 1st Lt. James R. Weaver, 2nd Lt. John Winters, Lt. Harry Wilson, Pvy. Isaac Pownall and Pvt. Thomas F. Hendershot.

Horace Greeley at the Front (pp. 19-21)
The famed newspaperman visited a Union army winter camp and a photographer captured him in two outdoor views.

An Unusual Civil War Uniform by Dr. Howard G. Lanham (p. 22)
An image of G.S. Warren prompted the author to investigate the subject’s uniform. Though it resembles the dress of the Veteran Reserve Corps, it is in fact the uniform of the Hudson River Institute, a military academy in Claverack, N.Y. Its graduates included author Stephen Crane.

“If Only I Could” by Dennis Keesee (pp. 23-24)
A quarter-plate tintype of David Auld, a drummer in the 43rd Ohio Infantry, is at the center of this story about a conversation overheard at a Civil War show and the excitement of identifying soldiers in regimental history books. Images include Auld, fellow musician John McClay, Corp. Isaac Jarvis of the 63rd Ohio Infantry and Pvt. Rice B. Bostwick of the 4th Tennessee Infantry.

Sgt. Abram Adsit, 10th Michigan Cavalry by John Sickles (p. 25)
The soldier and his wife, Mary, are the author’s great-great uncle and aunt. Images of both ancestors illustrate a biographical sketch of Sgt. Adsit and his regiment.

“He Laid Many a Man Low” by Bill Elswick (p. 26)
Capt. James Wilson of Company M, 12th Kentucky Cavalry, is pictured with a Henry rifle. His portrait illustrates a biographical sketch that describes Wilson’s skill and bravery during the fight at Horseshoe Bottom, Creasy Creak, Ky., on May 9, 1863.

Charles L. Allen, M.D.: The Making of a Surgeon by Kean E. Wilcox (pp. 27-29)
Vermont’s Charles Allen was better prepared than most period doctors to become a Union army brigade surgeon due to his education at Middlebury College and Castleton Medical College. During the Civil War he served a brief stint as the surgeon of the 9th Vermont Infantry. He went on to become a brigade surgeon in Washington, D.C., and administrator of U.S. General Hospital #2 in Beaufort, S.C. Two pre-war daguerreotypes illustrate the text.

George Thomas: An Unknown Portrait (p. 30)
A previously unpublished view of the general in profile, credited to Morse’s Gallery of the Cumberland in Nashville, Tenn., is accompanied by background information by owner Al Rapp. He has documented at least 12 other poses of Thomas—but not this one.

“Lying at the Fire Asleep” by Paul G. Zeller (pp. 31-32)
The author notes, “Henry C. Franklin was 138 years old when I first met him on a frosty Christmas Eve morning in Newport News, Virginia, in 1977.” Zeller refers to Franklin’s identification disk, which he found while relic hunting with a metal detector. Franklin, he discovered, served in Company C of the 2nd Vermont Infantry. Franklin purchased two disks and sent one home to his mother. He lost the other on the Virginia Peninsula in 1862. This disk, found by Zeller, is pictured along with a portrait of Franklin from the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

Charles Keener, Sailor Artist by Jerry Harlowe (pp. 33-34)
An 1873 portrait of Kenner and two of his drawings are accompanied by the story of his life and service as an assistant engineer in the U.S. navy.

Confederates in the Attic (p. 35)
An analysis of the well-known image of Southern soldiers on the Confederate side of the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Va., focuses on men in an attic window.

Uniforms & History by Michael J. McAfee (p. 36)
In “The 76th Ohio, or What is a Zouave,’” McAfee explores the specifics of the uniform of this Buckeye State regiment. It is illustrated with a carte de visite of Pvt. Lee Mathews of Company D.

Who Are Those Guys? (p. 37)
An occasional column in which we publish images sent to the magazine by readers for identification includes a man who may be an Indian scout, a U.S. navy officer identified as Charles Gainer and a tintype of a family believed to have lived in Charleston, S.C.

Sutler’s Row (pp. 38-39)

 The Last Shot (p. 40)
A hard-plate image from the Roy Mantle collection is an outdoor view of a Union soldier seated on an officer’s mount. The soldier holds a saber and has a Colt Navy revolver tucked into his belt.

MI on Medium

mi-mediumVisit Military Images on Medium and read the first two installments of Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther:

Medium is, according to its founders, “A beautiful space for reading and writing — and little else. The words are central. They can be accompanied by images to help illustrate your point. But there are no gratuitous sidebars, plug-ins, or widgets.”

MI is utilizing Medium’s space for words—and images! Check it out: https://medium.com/military-images