Military Images

Georgians in Gray

More than 15 years ago, a gallery of David W. Vaughan’s portraits of Georgia Confederates debuted in this magazine. Since then, the collection has been recognized across the country, including the landmark 2013 exhibit Photography and the American Civil War at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Vaughan has continued to add to his collection. This gallery highlights recent acquisitions.

Behind the Backdrop

In his inaugural column, “A Daguerreian Pioneer at the Rendezvous of Distribution,” Adam Ochs Fleischer examines the distinctive painted canvas depicting a scene that includes Sibley tents and a palm tree. His investigations highlight the man behind the backdrop, John Jones, and the gallery he operated.

The Honored Few

Willie Johnston, an 11-year-old drummer in the 3rd Vermont Infantry, managed to hold on to his instrument during the desperate march from the Malvern Hill battlefield to Harrison’s Landing. On July 4, 1862, after Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan ordered a review to boost morale, only Johnston had a drum to play. Other musicians had either discarded their drums during the march or put them in temporary storage aboard baggage wagons. Word of Willie’s lone performance made its way to Washington, D.C., and resulted in his receipt of the nation’s highest military honor.

Sherman at 200

Commemorating Uncle Billy’s 200th Birthday in Portraits with images from the Jerry Everts Collection. William Tecumseh Sherman is front center in 25 portraits that document his rise from major general in 1863 to General of the Army to his retirement.

Brothers at Arms

Tennessee’s Edward and Gabriel Fowlkes grew up together in Hickman County. Then the war came, and the went separate ways—one into the Union army and the other into the Confederate army. Their story is representative of how the war tore families apart. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.

The Honored Few

Edward Hill, a captain in the 16th Michigan Infantry, earned the Medal of Honor for leading a charge against Confederate forces during the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 1, 1864. Hill survived a serious gunshot wound in his hip and ended the war as the regiment’s lieutenant colonel. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.

Tennesseans in Gray

A gallery of representative images and stories of soldiers includes 38 original portraits of men from Tennessee who enlisted in the Confederate army. They came from all walks of life—and some paid the ultimate price. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.

Respect for the 14th

George Alexander, an African American from Tennessee, and his comrades in the 14th U.S. Colored Infantry proved their valor in battle. They were commanded by Col. Thomas Jefferson Morgan, the grandson of a slaveowner and the son of an abolitionist. At the Battle of Decatur, Ala., in October 1864, the 14th fought with the same courage and determination as the well-known 54th Massachusetts Infantry—but the regiment’s story is forgotten. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.

Ock Tyner Leaves His Mark

Oscar Newton Tyner, known as “Ock” to his pals, worked as a photographer’s assistant in the gallery of Barr & Young of Vicksburg. One of the images Tyner printed and signed was Jesse Root Grant, father of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Turns out the photo was taken at a low point during the general’s military career. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.

Cultural Ambassador: Albert L. Gihon, U.S. Navy

Gihon, a career navy officer, hailed from a  family of adventurers that included his father, who participated in the California Gold Rush, and his brother, a prominent Philadelphia photographer. Gihon’s adventures took him to the coast of North Africa, where he and his shipmates on the St. Louis played a role in U.S.-Moroccan diplomacy. Learn more about this story and others with our finding aid.