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Military Images

Mistaken Identity?

Two court-martial cases that arose at the end of the Civil War—one in Albany, N.Y., and the other in Springfield, Ill.—reveal how some litigants relied on more than the spoken word to determine identity. The cases of Simon Burke and William Gemmill, both tried in September 1865, used photographs as a key method to identify suspected deserters.

To learn more, access “Mistaken Identity? Early Use of Photographic Evidence in Two Court-Martial Case for Desertion” by Elena Colón-Marrero in the Autumn 2015 issue of Military Images magazine.

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Stories Yet to Be Told

Dan Schwab appreciates the connection that old photos make to long lost volunteers in blue and gray. “When I hold an image in my hand, I know that the soldier in the image unquestionably at one time held that very piece of tin or glass in his hand as well. He most likely took great care of it so that it could be sent home to his parents, siblings, wife or a sweetheart.”

Representative examples of his collection are featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Military Images.

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Ministering Angels

nurses

Veteran and registered nurse Chris Foard first became interested in the Civil War about 28 years ago, when he started his search for artifacts related to the men and women who cared for sick, wounded and dying soldiers. “A part of collecting I find most enjoyable is locating photographs of nurses then learning about the person behind the image,” Foard notes. “What still drives me to collect these rare images is putting a face with a name and learning more about their struggles, hardships, obstacles and how they coped.”

Representative examples of his collection are featured in the Spring 2015 issue of Military Images.

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Faces of Nobility and Honor

Brian Boeve purchased a photograph of an identified Union soldier about 25 years ago. The individual, Boeve learned, was a volunteer in the 2nd Iowa Infantry who suffered a mortal wound at the Battle of Shiloh. As it turned out, he was also the brother of a founder of Boeve’s hometown, Holland, Mich. The discoveries hooked Boeve on Civil War photography. Since then, he has focused on collecting citizen soldier likenesses. “To look into the eyes of these noble men and honor their sacrifice is the fuel that drives my passion to collect Civil War images,” he observes. Representative examples of his collection are featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Military Images.

Rally Round the Flag, Boys

According to the historian of the 118th New York Infantry, 6-foot-6-inch Sgt. Joseph A. Hastings, “Carried our colors all through the war and was a modest and brave man. Because he was unusually tall, we claimed that we carried our colors higher than other regiments.” His image is included in a gallery of color bearers and other citizen soldiers posed with their regimental and national banners in the Winter 2015 issue of Military Images.

In Camp at Warrenton Junction

A group of non-commissioned officers and enlisted men relax in camp at Warrenton Junction along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in Virginia. This is one of the photographs in the Winter 2015 collection of “Stragglers,” a gallery of distinctive and unique images shared by Military Images subscribers.

“Ugly as the Devil”

Northern ingenuity created a singular style of headgear for the volunteer soldiery of the Union during the first few months of the Civil War. In order to provide protection from the elements, hatters in several states developed what generally became known as the “Havelock hat” or “Improved Military Cap.” A field guide to this distinctive cap is featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Military Images.

Life Behind the Iron Shield

Before the Monitor left the Brooklyn Navy Yard in February 1862, Acting Asst. Paymaster William Frederick Keeler had his photograph taken in his new uniform. “I felt awkward enough at first in mine,” he wrote to his wife, Anna, saying that, “it seemed like every one was looking at me.” Thus begins the story of Keeler and his experiences aboard the famed ironclad. He served on the Monitor for its brief lifespan, and his story is told in the Autumn 2014 issue of Military Images.

One Soldier at a Time

Paul Russinoff has been fascinated by history and antiques for as long as he can remember. His interest was heightened in 1975, when at age 10, and living with his family in suburban Detroit, Mich., his mother bought him a box of lead Civil War soldiers. Soon after, he purchased a tintype of a Union soldier with a name scribbled on the back. “I was hooked,” he recalled. Representative images from Russinoff’s collection are the featured gallery in the Autumn 2014 issue of Military Images.

Art of War

An ardent collector and part-time dealer of early photography, Matt Cranford is drawn to the uncommon side of Civil War imagery. Matt searches for artfully composed, technically superior and conditionally sound images that reveal the theater of war—from the serious to the whimsical. Although a scientist by trade, Cranford is drawn to images by their aesthetics. He finds ambrotypes especially satisfying. “A great one possesses a rich tonal range from creamy lights to the deep blacks of the backing,” Cranford notes. “They add a painterly aura to the work.” 15 representative images from Cranford’s collection are the featured gallery in the Summer 2014 issue of Military Images.