Military Images

Civil War Buglers

A gallery of 31 images collected in collaboration with Editor Dale Niesen of the Facebook group “The Image Collector” and contributions by collectors, reviewed by Contributing Editor Chris Nelson, is focused on soldiers pictured with bugles and trumpets. All are Union musicians.

This story is part of our Summer 2021 issue. Check out the full contents and learn how to purchase a copy or subscribe in our finding aid.

Mississippi Marine Brigade

One of the Civil War’s most novel fighting forces, the Mississippi Marine Brigade, began its life as a fleet of rams, the brainchild of civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr. After his death from an infected wound, command passed to his brother, Alfred, who built the MMB. This is its story.

Story by Paul Russinoff

This story is part of our Summer 2021 issue. Check out the full contents and learn how to purchase a copy or subscribe in our finding aid.

The Compact

In 1864, a dozen soldiers at the U.S.A. General Hospital in York, Pa., pondered their futures. The men, including three hospital stewards, planned a reunion at Niagara Falls in 1884 to find out where life took them after the war ended. What happened to them, and the fate of the reunion, is revealed in this account.

Story by Ronald S. Coddington

This story is part of our Summer 2021 issue. Check out the full contents and learn how to purchase a copy or subscribe in our finding aid.

“Lost an Arm in Freedom’s Fray”

About 25,000 Union soldiers suffered amputations during the Civil War. These limbless men re-entered society, some faring well and others not. Here, we examine seven men who lost an arm as a result of the Battle of Gettysburg. Among them is artilleryman John F. Chase, who barely escaped when a canister charge exploded prematurely. Surgeons counted 48 shrapnel wounds on his body.

Story by Charles T. Joyce

This story is part of our Summer 2021 issue. Check out the full contents and learn how to purchase a copy or subscribe in our finding aid.

Research Rabbit Hole: Backdrop Business

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, May 3, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 9, is focused on backdrops, one of the great clues to help trace the photographers who used them—and, with a little grit, determination, and luck, maybe identifying the unknown face looking back at you. But where did photographers get those backdrops? We’ll shed some light on this question.

The full season is available on YouTube.

New episodes of Research Rabbit Hole premier every two weeks on our Facebook page. The host, Ronald S. Coddington, is Editor and Publisher of Military Images.

Research Rabbit Hole: Posing 101

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, April 5, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 7, provides answers to a deceptively simple question: Ever wondered why and how Americans of the 1860s posed for portraits? In this episode, we review instructions by traveling photographer B. Bradley to his patrons to help them make the most of their visit, and guidelines suggested by master daguerreian pioneer Marcus Aurelius Root in his 1864 photographer’s handbook, The Camera, and The Pencil.

The full season is available on YouTube.

New episodes of Research Rabbit Hole will be released every two weeks on our Facebook page. The host, Ronald S. Coddington, is Editor and Publisher of Military Images.

Research Rabbit Hole: Glass Negative Greenhouses

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, March 9, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 5, examines a persistent story about Civil War photographers who, long after the end of hostilities, sold glass plate negatives of battlefields, famous generals and Abraham Lincoln as scrap glass later used in greenhouses. They gradually faded away—ironically destroyed by the very sunlight responsible for image creation. The story has been told by many, including Ken Burns. Did photographer’s really sell their negatives?

The full season is available on YouTube.

New episodes of Research Rabbit Hole will be released every two weeks on our Facebook page. The host, Ronald S. Coddington, is Editor and Publisher of Military Images.

Research Rabbit Hole: Anti-Confederate Art

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, January 25, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 2, examined a carte de visite titled “The Neglected Picture,” a painting by Port Jefferson, N.Y., artist William Moore Davis.

The full season is available on YouTube.

New episodes of Research Rabbit Hole will be released every two weeks on our Facebook page. The host, Ronald S. Coddington, is Editor and Publisher of Military Images.

Gettysburg Gathering: Celebrating the Collecting Community

Collectors, dealers and other members of the Civil War collecting community third met for the Gettysburg Gathering on Friday night, June 28, 2019. The group met at historic Grand Army of the Republic Hall in downtown Gettysburg, Pa. The evening began with a buffet barbecue dinner catered by Biggerstaff’s and continued with welcome remarks by co-hosts Ron Coddington of Military Images magazine and Doug York of Civil War Faces and Civil War Faces Market Place. The two announced the formation of a new organization, the Civil War Photo Collectors Society. The main attraction of the night—four speakers who presented on a variety of Civil War photo-related topics.

Gary McQuarrie, Doug York, Rick Brown, Ron Coddington, Chuck Joyce and Dr. Kurt Luther.

The program:

Chuck Joyce.

The Sacrifice of Seven: Images and Stories of Union Casualties at Gettysburg
By Chuck Joyce, Senior Editor, Military Images
About a dozen years ago, I began to focus my collection on images and artifacts of men and boys who fell at Gettysburg—drawn, as countless others before me, to the special nature of this hallowed ground. In this talk, I share the stories of seven federal soldiers whose lives were lost or forever altered in the fighting that took place here, paying particular attention to  role that pension records and online sources, the network of fellow collectors, and just plain luck has played in helping to allow me to learn and tell the tale of their sacrifice.

Dr. Kurt Luther.

Civil War Photo Sleuthing: Past, Present, and Future
By Dr. Kurt Luther, Civil War Photo Sleuth
People have struggled to identify unknown soldiers and sailors in Civil War photos since even before the war ended. In this talk, I trace the 150-year history of photo sleuthing, showing how the passage of time has magnified some challenges, but also unlocked exciting new possibilities. I show how technologies like social media, face recognition, and digital archives allow us to solve photo mysteries that have eluded families and researchers for a century and a half.

Gary McQuarrie.

George Holmes Bixby, MD: Photographer on the Western Rivers
By Gary McQuarrie, Managing Editor, Civil War Navy—The Magazine 
Documentary evidence is reviewed that Dr. Bixby, the Chief Medical Officer on the USS Red Rover hospital ship, photographed many iconic gunboats and vessels of the Mississippi Squadron during his service in the theater and deserves to be recognized for his photographs and as one of a small group of physician photographers during the war.

Rick Brown.

Through a Collector’s Eye
By Rick Brown, Senior Editor, Military Images
I review a sampling of photographs from my collection with an eye to artistry, appreciation, and history. I also share stories about the community of collectors, and our role in preserving the wonderful images out there we’ve discovered and shared.

Traveling Exhibit: Fighting for Freedom

Museum-quality prints of 22 Images of African American Civil War soldiers pictured in a gallery published in last summer’s issue of MI and elsewhere were displayed in our first-ever traveling exhibit. The first stop for this unique group was the last stop for slaves fleeing to freedom along the Underground Railroad to Canada—the Hubbard House in Ashtabula, Ohio. Located along Lake Erie is northeast Ohio, the town marked the opening of the exhibit with a two-day event last weekend. Music, dramatic readings, a visit from Buffalo Soldiers bikers, and of course the portraits, each with a caption that tells the soldier’s story. Many thanks to all the collectors who shared their images for this event. They include Kevin Canberg, Greg French, Chuck Joyce, Paul Loane, Steve Meadow and Paul Russinoff.

Special thanks to Lisa Burroughs, who played a leading role in conceiving and organizing the event, the staff and volunteers of the Hubbard House, and the city of Ashtabula for turning out to see these powerful photographs that are such an important part of our nation’s story.

Read coverage from the Ashtabula Star Beacon.

Images from the exhibit will be on display for the next year.

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