Military Images

Finding Aid: Summer 2020

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3
(80 pages)

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Cover image
A quarter-plate ambrotype from the Dan Schwab Collection pictures Newton J. Ragon of the 13th Mississippi Infantry.

Table of Contents (p. 1)

Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
The editor dedicates his column to “Publishing in a Pandemic.”

Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes comments about the loss of historical context when mats and cases are replaced on hard-plate images, details about Col. John R. Hart’s 6th Georgia Cavalry, and inherent problems with colorization.

Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
Visualizing Edward and Henry T. Anthony’s November 1862 Catalogue of Card Photographs as a pie chart.

Passing in Review (p. 6)
MI Senior Editor Ron Field reviews American Zouaves, 1859-1959: An Illustrated History (McFarland & Company, Inc.) by Daniel J. Miller.

Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-10)
In “How to Trust the Worthiness of an Identification,” Luther reveals the results of a survey of collectors to gauge various forms of image identification. He grouped the data into three categories, high-, medium-, and low-touch sources. Period inscriptions on the photograph with validation scored highest, and images identified only with military records and other textual documents scored lowest.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 12)
A quarter-plate daguerreotype of John Reynolds by renowned photographer Jeremiah Gurney may have been a portrait promised to his sister, Ellie, in an 1858 letter.

The Honored Few (p. 14)
Christopher C. Bruton of the 22nd New York Cavalry told the story of his capture of the headquarters flag of Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early to a group gathered at the War Department in Washington, D.C., in March 1865. Among those present were Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Libby Custer, the wife of the general in whose division Bruton served. A son of Ireland, Bruton received the nation’s highest military honor for his act.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 16)
William Henry Gobrecht, surgeon of the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry, enjoyed high name recognition among health care workers. In 1858, his American edition of the textbook Wilson’s Anatomy become the standard text for doctors. His postwar career brought him to Washington, D.C. for a job at the Pension Bureau. Upon his death in 1901, his remains were interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Citizenry by Alison Renner (p. 18)
A tintype, believed to be previously unpublished, features Lavinia Ellen “Vinnie” Ream, the sculptor who rose in prominence during the Civil War. Her best known works are of Abraham Lincoln—an 1864 bust for which he sat, and an 1871 statue that stands in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds by Perry M. Frohne (pp. 22-23)
In “Rembrandt You Are Not, Sir!,” Frohne details how fakers use paint to transform ambrotypes and tintypes of civilians into soldiers and sailors.

Three Days in July: Faces of Union and Confederate Soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg, edited by Charles Joyce (pp. 24-39)
A collection of more than two dozen ambrotypes, cartes de visite, and tintypes of Union and Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg, each accompanied by the story of each man’s experience during the fight. Among those included are 1st Lt. Robert C. Knaggs of the 7th Michigan Infantry, Pvt. Clark Stevens of the 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, Pvt. Hiram Gilbert of 76th New York Infantry, Lt. Col. Theobold Alexander Von Mitzel of the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry, Pvt. David “Davy” Barnum of the 5th Alabama Infantry, Capt. James Washington Beck of the 44th Georgia Infantry, Lt. Col. Wharton Jackson “Jack” Green of Tennessee and more. Contributions of images and text included Rick Carlile, Ronald S. Coddington, Guy DiMasi, Thomas Harris, Tom Huntington, Britt C. Isenberg, Ross J. Kelbaugh, Jeff Kowalis, C. Paul Loane, August Marchetti, Paul Russinoff, Dan Schwab, Karl Sundstrom and Daniel Taylor.

America’s “Good Death”: Capt. Charles W. Billings of the 20th Maine Infantry at Little Round Top by Paul Russinoff (pp. 40-45)
Capt. Charles W. Billings of the 20th Maine Infantry suffered a mortal wound at Little Round Top. Russinoff brings together primary sources and artifacts for the first time to tell Billings’ story, which underscores historian Drew Gilpin-Faust’s concept of “The Good Death.”

A Romance Fueled by Photographs: At Gettysburg, an Iron Brigade Bandsman and a former tavern keeper’s daughter find love and likeness by Charles Joyce (pp. 46-49)
The Adams County Courthouse in downtown Gettysburg became a scene of death and dying during the fighting as the recently constructed building became a makeshift hospital. It also provided the backdrop for love between Susie Herr, the daughter of a former tavern keeper, and German immigrant Jacob F. Gundrum, a musician in the band of the famed Iron Brigade. This is their story.

The Likeness and Legacy of The Children: A history, study and survey of an iconic Civil War image by Mark H. Dunkelman and Richard Leisenring, Jr. (pp. 50-53)
The death of Amos Humiston of the 154th New York Infantry at Gettysburg and the ambrotype of his three children clutched in his hands is one of the best-known stories of the Civil War. Historian Dunkelman, who has written extensively about Humiston and the 154th, and MI Contributing Editor Leisenring team up to examine surviving images of “The Children of The Battle-Field.”

Old Abe and the Army of the American Eagle by Richard Leisenring, Jr. (pp. 54-57)
Chicago printer Alfred L. Sewell devised a novel fundraiser to support the Union army: Selling carte de visite sized portraits of Old Abe, the famed Eagle mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. Sewell targeted kids, who purchased tens of thousands of the images under the auspices of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. Children earned commissions in Old Abe’s army, and a small number received Medals of Honor for the number of images purchased.

Before Movies, Americans Viewed the Civil War Through the Magic Lantern by Robert Marcus (pp. 58-61)
During the years following the Civil War, American audiences packed venues across the country to experience the late conflict through glass plates projected on a big screen—the precursor to motion pictures.

The Last Parade: Cameras captured the pomp and circumstance in New York City on July 4, 1860. Nine months later, the Civil War began by Ron Field (pp. 63-66)
Photographer Edward Anthony and his assistants set up stereoscopic cameras at two locations to capture the city’s militia marching along the Independence Day parade route. Field details the regiments pictured in nine surviving stereo cards.

Mariner. Teamster. Refugee. Surgeon’s Steward. The life and naval service of William Tyler Cross by Jack Hurov (pp. 68-70)
William Tyler Cross became an unlikely pawn in game of political brinkmanship between the U.S. and Mexico in 1862. He managed to return safely and went on to serve in one of the Navy’s most underappreciated positions—surgeon’s steward. The role was similar to its counterpart in the army, the hospital steward.

Journey to Lynchburg: William Hawkins of the 15th New York Cavalry in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley by James Crane III (pp. 72-74)
Hawkins suffered a gunshot in the head an instant death during an action in the Diamond Hill neighborhood of Lynchburg, Va., on June 17, 1864. He had been in uniform for less than a year. A farmer, he left behind a widowed wife and three orphaned children—and two photographs in civilian clothes and a military uniform.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (p. 75)
Included are portraits of two revolver-packing Union troopers, a Bluejacket, and a teamster taken in Corinth, Miss.

Behind the Backdrop: Origins, artistry and photographers by Adam Ochs Fleischer (pp. 78-79)
In “Wartime Letters Document the 2nd Cavalry Division Backdrop,” Fleischer examines the distinctive painted canvas with tents, a guard and hills with forts.

The Last Shot (p. 80)
A cabinet card from the Robert Elliott Collection pictures a painting of Col. Harry Burgwyn of the 26th North Carolina Infantry, who suffered a mortal wound in a charge against elements of the Iron Brigade on July 1, 1863. The photograph was presented to the officer who succeeded Burgwyn in command, Lt. Col. John R. Lane.

Finding Aid: Spring 2020

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVIII, No. 2
(80 pages)

Purchase ($8.00 plus postage)
Download PDF from JSTOR ($16.00)
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Cover image
A half-plate ambrotype from the David W. Vaughan Collection pictures William Houston House of the 13th Georgia Cavalry.

Table of Contents (p. 1)

Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
The editor introduces two new departments, Behind the Backdrop by Adam Ochs Fleischer and Material Culture, which is guest hosted. The editor also notes a modification in policy regarding colorized images, which will be allowed for educational purposes. Such images reproduced in the magazine will be accompanied by the un-colorized image.

Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes comments on Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds,and a note regarding a misidentified epaulette.

Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
A tree map diagram visualizes enlistments in the Union and Confederate armies.

Passing in Review (pp. 6-8)
Featured media includes The 16th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War (Michigan State University Press) by Kim Crawford, 100 Significant Civil War Photographs: Atlanta Campaign (Historical Publications LLC), and the movie short Hold My Horse (Look Around You Ventures, LLC) starring Christian Stolte and Patrick Webb.

Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-13)
In “Lost and Found in the Library of Congress,” Luther details his journey that began with a questionable caption on a single glass plate negative and ended with an extensive examination of captions attached to 16 negatives—11 of which he found proved incorrect or unclear.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 14)
A sixth-plate ambrotype discovered in Florence, S.C., pictures a militiaman. He may have been a member of the Darlington Rifles, a local militia company.

The Honored Few (p. 16)
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.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 18)
Navy Rear Adm. Richard Worsam Meade was an irascible man, a trait he shared in common with his famous uncle, Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade. Rear Adm. Meade’s temper got the best of him late in his career when he insulted President and Commander-in-Chief Grover Cleveland. The incident ended with Meade’s dismissal from the Navy. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Citizenry by Alison Renner (p. 20)
Four-year-old Major Willie Bagley, “The Wisconsin Infant Drummer,” enjoyed a brief stint in the spotlight as a performer for P.T. Barnum. The legendary Barnum posted with Bagley to mark the association.

Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds by Perry M. Frohne (pp. 22-23)
In “The Weaponization of Technology and Psychology,” Frohne details how today’s forgers  “are far smarter, have far better technology, and are very close to producing perfect fake cartes de visite.” He illustrates the column with two cartes that fooled him.

Georgians in Gray: Images from the David W. Vaughan Collection, with text by August Marchetti (pp. 24-35)
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.

Commemorating Uncle Billy’s 200th Birthday in Portraits, with images from the Jerry Everts Collection (pp. 36-45)
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.

Chivalrous Legacy: The story behind Tunis A.M. Craven’s last recorded words at Mobile Bay by Ronald S. Coddington (pp. 46-48)
The Battle of Mobile Bay is known for two distinct human moments connected to torpedoes: Read Adm. David Farragut’s utterance paraphrased as “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” and Cmdr. Tunis Augustus Macdonough Craven’s words as his ironclad Tecumseh sank, “After you, sir.” This story puts Craven’s words in context, and is illustrated with four portraits of him.

Antebellum Midshipmen: A survey of Navy portraits with images from the Dr. William Schultz Collection (pp. 50-54)
Fourth in a series of galleries of pre-Civil War daguerreotypes from the Schultz collection, this survey examines nine portraits. They include an early view of a midshipman by pioneer photographer John Plumbe, John “Jack” Wilkes, Jr., the son of career naval officer Charles Wilkes, and John Gardner Mitchell, for whom Mitchell Bay in Alaska is named.

A Merchant Prince Goes to War: Baltimore’s Lt. Noah Dixon Walker, C.S.A. by Ronald S. Coddington with Ross J. Kelbaugh (pp. 56-60)
Noah Dixon Walker received an offer of $200,000 ($6 million in today’s dollars) not to enlist in the Confederate army. The man who made the offer was his father, wealthy Baltimore merchant Noah Walker. His son passed on the offer to become an officer in the 44th Virginia Infantry. This is his story.

Accidental American, Soldier, Artist, Photographer: The notable journey of Civil War veteran William Kurtz by Scott Valentine (pp. 62-65)
After fate dashed his dream to start a new life in China, Germany’s William Kurtz found himself stranded on the shores of the U.S. with little money and prospects. He managed to find a job in a New York City photographer’s studio, and it launched him on a prosperous high-profile career.

Inside “The Empty Sleeve” by James S. Brust (pp. 66-67)
Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard is perhaps best remembered for his post-Civil War roles with the Freedman’s Bureau and the establishment of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Far less known is a speech he gave in Maine soon after the amputation of his arm after it was severely damaged during the 1862 Battle of Fair Oaks, Va. Howard’s words inspired poet David Barker’s “The Empty Sleeve,” which holds a unique place in American popular culture.

Seamless Sharpshooters: How a revolutionary breakthrough in garment design proved undesirable in war by Brian T. White (pp. 68-70)
Seamless overcoats proved the rage in the late 1850s, thanks to innovative efforts to manipulate wool into form-fitting clothing. Among those who took advantage of the latest technology was Col. Hiram Berdan, the engineer, inventor and crack marksman who raised two regiments of sharpshooters for the Union army. His men received seamless overcoats as part of their standard issue uniform.

Behind the Backdrop: Origins, artistry and photographers by Adam Ochs Fleischer (pp. 72-75)
In his inaugural column, “A Daguerreian Pioneer at the Rendezvous of Distribution,” 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.

Material Culture by Frederick C. Gaede (pp. 76-77)
In this inaugural column, guest author Gaede investigates leather neck stocks from 1851-1865. Though they are long gone from the military, they live on in the Marine moniker “Leatherneck.”

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (p. 79)
Included are three portraits of Union soldiers, including a Zouave who served in the 9th New York Infantry from the Anthony F. Gero Collection.

The Last Shot (p. 80)
A sixth-plate tintype from the Paul Russinoff Collection pictures a man reading a newspaper. He is dressed in shirtsleeves and what appears to be a military vest.

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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Finding Aid: Spring 2019

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVII, No. 2
(80 pages)

No print issues in stock
Download PDF from JSTOR ($16.00)
Subscribe to MI ($24.95)
Explore the MI Archives: Browse | Advanced search | Tutorial


Cover image
A ninth-plate ruby ambrotype from the Kevin Canberg Collection pictures a federal enlisted man holding a photograph of another soldier.
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Table of Contents (p. 1)
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Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
The editor discusses two new ventures, Military Images Live, a bi-monthly video broadcast on Facebook, and the first-ever Civil War Faces Show and Sale, a joint venture with Doug York, Editor of Civil War Faces.
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Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes memorial for late collector John Sickles, an alternative view of an Antebellum Warrior and the discovery of a wooden bowl in the Iowa Historical Museum.
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Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
An analysis of 5 less discussed factors that negatively impacted prisoners of war, based on scholarship by David Keller, author of The Story of Camp Douglas, Chicago’s Forgotten Civil War Prison.
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Passing in Review (p. 6)
Death, Disease and Life at War: The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantry Regiments, 1862-1865 (Savas Beatie) by Christopher E. Loperfido notes the refreshing honesty revealed by the Union officer in his wartime letters.
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Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-9)
In “Civil War Photo Sleuth: An Update,” Kurt shares statistics about user-created accounts, adding photos, identifying photos, plus information about the current status and future plans for the popular application.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 10)
A sixth-plate ambrotype from the Thomas Harris Collection is a portrait of a naval 1st assistant engineer dressed in an 1852 regulation uniform.

The Honored Few (p. 12)
Aaron Steven Lanfare, a first lieutenant in the 1st Connecticut Cavalry, captured the flag of the 11th Florida Infantry during the Battle of Sailor’s Creek in April 1865. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 14)
Georgiana Willets took a break from her duties as a teacher of freedmen in Washington, D.C., to help soldiers suffering wounds and sickness during the 1864 Overland Campaign. She survived the war and married a veteran, James M. Stradling of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. They are buried side-by-side in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Citizenry by Jeff Giambrone (p. 16)
After the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the Union army assumed the difficult role of occupier. An uneasy peace followed, and in one of the many episodes of friction between soldiers and townspeople, Miss Emma Kline was arrested on suspicion of smuggling. She’s pictured here standing between two guards from the 5th Iowa Infantry.

A Million Hells of Screaming Flame: Portraits of Blue and Gray at Shiloh (pp. 18-28)
We remember one of the most significant battles of the war and the Western Theater through representative portraits and stories of more than two dozen soldiers who were killed, wounded and captured, and others, during the chaos and confusion that reigned in and about Pittsburgh Landing during two days in April 1862. Stan Hutson of the National Park Service played an important role in bringing this stories to light.

Infernal Gates: Lt. Borger and the Hornet’s Nest Brigade at Shiloh by Ronald S. Coddington (pp. 30-33)
The fighting at the Hornet’s Nest is remembered for the grit of Union troops who defended this sector of the battlefield against Confederate attackers. A brigade of Iowa infantry played a critical role in its defense. One of the regiments, the 12th Iowa, found itself in the center of the fury. The story of one of these Iowans, 2nd Lt. John Herman Borger, a German immigrant and former Marine, is representative of the Union soldier experience.

Reunion and Reconciliation at the Point: Lookout Mountain and the Linn brothers after the war by Dr. Anthony Hodges (pp. 35-41)
In our third and final installment tracing the history of Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga, Tenn., before, during and after the Civil War, Dr. Anthony Hodges explores the area and its development as a hotspot for Union and Confederate veteran reunions, the center of the battlefield preservation movement, and a tourist attraction documented in photographs by Robert M. and James B. Linn.

Requiescat in Pace: Memorial photographs of the Civil War by Richard Leisenring, Jr. (pp. 42-50)
A newspaper ad for Mathew Brady’s New York City gallery warned readers, “Never delay the important business of getting your Portrait; you cannot tell how soon it may be too late.” The author suggests these words can be loosely attributed to the creation of the memorial photograph, which is rooted in the European custom of memorial cards. A history of these images includes examples of three types: Formal Cards, Informal Cards and Mourning Wreaths. Also included is a section about unverified cards.

Soldier Photographs, Reunited by Daniel J. Binder (pp. 52-54)
Tintypes and ambrotypes were extremely popular during the Civil War. But they did have one drawback—they could not be easily and inexpensively reproduced. Soldiers fond of the format sat for more than one portrait during a sitting. Many of these pairs of images were separated over time. The author brings three of these pairs together, and shares his insights.

Undivided by Robert Lee Blankenship, Jr. (p. 55)
A poem.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Is Jane Perkins pictured in this iconic Civil War image of Confederate prisoners of war? by Shelby Harriel and Mark Hidlebaugh (pp. 56-58)
An iconic Mathew Brady photograph of Confederate prisoners of war at White House Landing in Virginia is a study in contrasts. One of them is the presence of what appears to be a woman who may be a known female soldier, Jane A. Perkins. The authors make a compelling case that the individual is Perkins by placing the scene in context to events in 1864 and her documented military service, as well as a comparison of the individual pictured to known descriptions.

A New Look at Old Abe’s Color Guard: Researchers combine classic and cutting-edge techniques to reexamine the identities of soldiers in an iconic image by Tyler Phillips, Kenneth E. Byrd and Xukai Zou (pp. 60-64)
Three researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis use classic and cutting edge techniques to reexamine the identities of soldiers pictured in a well-known photo of members of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry with their live eagle mascot, Old Abe. The results of the study confirm the identities of some of the eight men—and raise questions about the others.

Red-Whiskered Artillery Genius: New York’s Capt. Jacob Roemer by Mike Fitzpatrick (pp. 65-69)
Jacob Roemer’s military exploits are largely forgotten. In his four years as captain of the 2nd New York Light Artillery, the German immigrant survived numerous wounds and established a reputation as something of a tactical genius. His knack for improvisation, quick thinking and bold action in the face of adversity belied his lack of a formal military education.

Legacy Fulfilled: One Virginian’s Journey from West Point to Confederate artillery leader by Fred D. Taylor (pp. 70-73)
Virginia’s William Rice Jones left his beloved West Point as a matter of honor and principle after his home state seceded and cast his lot with the Confederate army. The young man eventually rose to become an artillery chief in Texas, and returned to the Lone Star State to make a new life for himself after the end of hostilities.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (pp. 74-79)
Union and Confederate images include a young men with a fawn outside a photographer’s studio tent, Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cousin, Capt. Albartus Forrest of the 31st Tennessee Infantry, and a post mortem of Pvt. Alonzo “Lon” Clark of the 31st Maine Infantry, who died of disease only six weeks after he enlisted.

The Last Shot (p. 80)
A quarter-plate tintype from the Ronald S. Coddington Collection is a portrait of Union officer thumbing his nose at the camera.

Finding Aid: Winter 2019

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVII, No. 1
(80 pages)

No print issues in stock
Download PDF from JSTOR ($16.00)
Subscribe to MI ($24.95)
Explore the MI Archives: Browse | Advanced search | Tutorial


Cover image
A sixth-plate tintype from the Buck Zaidel Collection pictures two Union pards fighting for each other and the flag.
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Table of Contents (p. 1)
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Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
The editor marks the magazine’s 40th year by placing the publication in context to key events in the modern history of collecting. Also noted is the passing of John R. Sickles, an icon in the collecting community and a former Senior Editor of MI.
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Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes an example of uncommon placement of chevrons on the coat sleeve of a hospital steward, a question about a Texas identification and a request for more Confederate images.
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Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
An analysis of the 19 loyal states that did not border the Confederacy shows seven exceeded their quotas for Union troops and the rest barely missed making their numbers.
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Passing in Review (p. 6)
Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue: The Brickyard Fight and the Mural (Gettysburg Publishing LLC) by Mark H. Dunkelman is the story of how one man’s vision added an artistic masterpiece to a less-traveled section of the Gettysburg battlefield.
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Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-9)
In “What to Do When Gold Standards Go Wrong,” Kurt revisits a column published in the Autumn 2016 issue after alert reader Doug Sagrillo presented him with an identified carte de visite that challenged another listed with a different name in a reputable public collection.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 10)
A quarter-plate ambrotype from the Dan Binder Collection is a portrait believed to be a militia staff officer sitting next to his feathered hat and a document.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 12)
Pvt. George Washington Tucker survived the deadliest day in Vermont history—May 5, 1864. He and his fellow Vermonters suffered 1,234 casualties during the fighting in The Wilderness.

The Honored Few (p. 14)
Cecil Clay, a captain in the 58th Pennsylvania Infantry, was conspicuous for gallantry during the attack on Fort Harrison on Sept. 29, 1864. The fight cost him an arm, and resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Citizenry (p. 16)
A group of women stand on the back stairs of a clapboard building in Corning, N.Y. Several of them hold hats in various stages of completion, indicating that they are milliners.

Where Light Meets Lens: Representative images from the Buck Zaidel Collection (pp. 18-29)
Buck Zaidel is perhaps best known as the co-author of the book, Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Soldiers Tell Their Stories. He is also a savvy collector with a keen eye for unique images. Here we showcase selected images from his holdings.

Portraits on The Point: Representative photographs by the studio of Robert M. and James B. Linn by Dr. Anthony Hodges with images from his and other collections (pp. 31-42)
The rocky outcropping that overlooks Chattanooga, Tenn., became the scene of one the most dramatic moments of the Civil War after Union soldiers raised the Stars and Stripes in victory over Confederates on Nov. 25, 1863. Soon after, enterprising photographer Robert M. Linn set up a gallery and captured uncounted numbers of soldiers who visited the iconic spot. In this gallery, we showcase representative images from private collections. This is the second in a three-part series.

Jerseymen! A survey of Civil War soldiers and sailors from the John Kuhl collection (pp. 44-55)
The state of New Jersey’s contribution to Northern arms is evident in the faces and stories of volunteers who served in the Union armies during the Civil War. Original images are included here, many published here for the first time, along with their personal narratives.

New Jersey’s Splendid Colors Recall a Terrible Struggle (pp. 56-57)
An 1885 fire in the New Jersey state capitol building almost destroyed the precious colors carried by regiments during the late Civil War. The 19 men who saved the flags received badges of honor for heroism. One of them, William S. Stryker, accepted the badge with a moving speech.

Guardians of Honor: Men and events that shaped the Medal of Honor by Ron Maness (pp. 60-66)
Though the standard by which the Medal of Honor is substantially the same as it was during the Civil War, the process by which the awards are made is far more rigorous. Two stories here examine how the lack of validation impacted the decoration, and highlight the actions of two forgotten soldiers.

Captain Ramsey and the Birth of the “True Blues” by Ronald S. Coddington (pp. 68-70)
David Wardlaw Ramsey numbered among the first Alabama men to join the army in 1861. Those early, heady days of excitement soon gave way to pain, suffering and loss at Island No. 10, Port Hudson and elsewhere.

“Admiral Johnston”: An unofficial powder boy’s courage under fire by Ron Field (pp. 73-75)
Pint-size 6-year-old James Vincent Johnston could scarcely be kept out of harm’s way after he and his mother were trapped aboard the gunboat Forest Rose during a fight near Vicksburg, Miss., in early 1864. His father, the commander of the vessel, resorted to tying the boy to a chair in his cabin to keep him safe. It didn’t work. What happened next became the stuff of navy legend.

British Invasion! Confederate portraits in England by John O’Brien (pp. 76-77)
During the latter period of the war, a series of cartes de visite of Confederates, including President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and political and military leaders, was published in London by photographer Charles B. Walker in partnership with Florida lensman S.C. McIntyre. Long overlooked, we explore the history of this unique grouping.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (pp. 78-79)
“Southern Warriors” features four images of Confederates.

The Last Shot (p. 80)
An eighth-plate tintype from the Michele Behan Collection is a portrait of a heavy artilleryman or an infantryman posed with a cannonball.

Military Images Magazine at the Gettysburg Civil War Show

Join Military Images at the 45th Civil War Artifact and Collectibles Show in Gettysburg, Va. Stop by our table and bringing your best Civil War images—we’ll scan them free of charge and featured selected images in upcoming issues. We’ll be side-by-side with Kurt Luther and Civil War Photo Sleuth, a new website that uses technology and community to rediscover lost identities in American Civil War-era photographs. The show is sponsored by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association.

Event Details
45th Civil War Artifact and Collectibles Show
Eisenhower Hotel & Conference Center Allstar Expo Complex
2634 Emmitsburg Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Saturday, June 30, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday, July 1, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
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Finding Aid: Summer 2018

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVI, No. 3
(80 pages)

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Cover image
A ninth-plate tintype from the Doug York Collection pictures a young enlisted soldier with a knife and Colt Root Revolver.
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Table of Contents (p. 1)
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Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
In “Our Digital Preservation Effort,” the editor announces a deal with the non-profit digital library Journal Storage (JSTOR) to digitize and make searchable the entire run of Military Images.
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Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes praise for personal soldier stories, feedback on the Father of the American Cavalry, comments on a soldier identified as a prototypical Confederate, and clarity of terms and titles used in our Nathan Bedford Forrest gallery.
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Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
An analysis of the residences reported by 1,275 men of color upon their enrollment in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.
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Passing in Review (p. 6)
The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham (Savas Beatie) edited by Janet Elizabeth Croon is the writings of an invalid Georgia boy who observed the rise and fall of the Confederate nation.
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Antebellum Warriors (p. 8)
A sixth-plate ruby ambrotype by from the Ron Field Collection is a portrait of Michael G. Stapleton, an Irish-born soldier who served in the 65th New York State Militia. He went on to serve in the Civil War with the 164th New York Infantry but did not live to see the end of hostilities.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 10)
Carlos Alvarez de le Mesa, a native of Spain who served an officer in the 39th New York Infantry, also known as the Garibaldi Guard, was wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg. The bullet that struck his foot ended his active duty and he spent the rest of the war in the Veteran Reserve Corps. His grandson, Terry de la Mesa Allen, became a noted World War II general with the nom de guerre “Terrible Terry.”

Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 12-13)
In “Non-Traditional Research Tools—and Serendipity,” Kurt explains how he identified a group of officers pictured in a carte de visite that was partially inscribed on the back of the mount. Period newspapers, letters and other sources helped him out names to all four faces.

Uniforms & History by Michael J. McAfee (p. 14)
In “Men of the Military Telegraph Service,” McAfee profiles this agency run by the Quartermaster Department. The text is illustrated with portraits of service members Samuel M. Brown, David Strouse, David Homer Bates, Richard O’Brien, Homer W. Gilbert and C.A. Homan.

Gettysburg Album: Portraits of Union and Confederate soldiers in the Gettysburg Campaign (pp. 16-22)
A total of 13 images, 5 Confederate and 8 Union, of soldiers who participated parts of the three-day battle and/or related engagements following the rebel retreat. They include John Lewis Ells of the 3rd Georgia Infantry, Kirkbride Taylor of the 8th Virginia Infantry, Augustine Leftwich Jr. of Shoemaker’s Battery, Virginia Horse Artillery, Ludwig Kohn of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry and more.

“You Were Making History”: Faces of Maine men who fought at Gettysburg by Tom Huntington (pp. 24-29)
In this adaptation from his new book, Maine Roads to Gettysburg (Stackpole Books, 2018), the author provides an overview of the Pine State’s contribution to the Civil War through the varied experiences of its military volunteers. Profiles include Freeman McGilvery, Edwin B. Dow, Moses B. Lakeman, Abner Small, George Bisbee, Charles Mattocks, Holman Melcher, Ellis Spear and Samuel Keene. Each is illustrated with a portrait courtesy of the Maine Historical Society.

Reluctant Hero: Otis C. Billings and Cowan’s 1st New York Independent Battery at Gettysburg by Charles Joyce (pp. 30-34)
Billings, a young, battle-hardened soldier with a distinguished record, was unusually reluctant to fight on the third day at Gettysburg. He and his artillery battery, commanded by Capt. Andrew Cowan, went on to fight near The Copse of Trees during Pickett’s Charge. There the fate of Billings and the rest of Cowan’s gunners were decided.

Fallout from the Johnston Reconnaissance: A late-war letter by Robert E. Lee sheds light on an enduring Gettysburg controversy by Ronald S. Coddington with Dave Batalo (pp. 36-37)
In late January 1865, Lt. Col. Samuel Richards Johnston became a father after his wife gave birth to a baby boy. Johnston decided to name his son after the general on whose staff he served—Robert E. Lee. A reply letter from Lee thanking Johnston for the honor suggest the two men were on cordial terms. This suggests Lee harbored no ill will towards Johnston for a July 2, 1863, reconnaissance on Little Round Top that remains a hot topic for historians and other battle enthusiasts.

Silver for The Superb: Hometown tribute to a national hero by Matt Hagans (pp. 38-39)
The wounding of Winfield Scott Hancock during Pickett’s Charge is one of the most notable moments of the Battle of Gettysburg. His actions in helping to repulse the Confederate assault won him new admirers throughout the Union, especially in his hometown of Norristown, Pa. His neighbors and friends paid tribute to Hancock with a unique silver service.

Civil War Images; Fallen Soldiers by Robert Lee Blankenship  (p. 40)
A poem explores the connection between Civil War soldier photographs and the individuals who collect them.

Faces in Cases: Representative images from the Bryan Watson collection (pp. 42-51)
Wyoming’s Bryan Watson’s passion for collecting might be summed up in a fortune cookie he once received: “Where your treasure is there will your heart will be also.” A profile of Watson is accompanied by a selection of 25 of his finest portraits of Union and Confederate soldiers.

Old Pap: The neglected legacy of one of the Union’s most loyal brigadiers by Ben Myers (pp. 52-58)
Alpheus Starkey Williams commanded troops at many of the Civil War’s biggest battles and campaigns, including Gettysburg, Atlanta and the March to the Sea. His military record was exemplary. And yet history has forgotten him. The author examines Williams the soldier and the man, and reveals how his humble ways likely contributed to his lack of notoriety.

Fighting for Freedom: Portraits of soldiers and other Civil War participants (pp. 59-65)
No single group experienced such a dramatic change in fortunes during the Civil War than men of color. From an enslaved race to freedmen to post-war struggles, they served as soldiers, servants and laborers. A sampling of 13 portraits, some never before published, are featured here.

Memento of a Senseless Death: The portrait of a surgeon recalls a wartime murder by Daniel R. Glenn (pp. 66-68)
John Gore Johnson, a Massachusetts physician who served as a contract surgeon in Union-occupied North Carolina, treated an African American man shot and mortally wounded by a federal soldier. A court-martial convened in New Bern to try the soldier, who was charged with murder. Johnson testified, and posed for his portrait soon afterwards. A note tucked inside the image case suggests that the trial was one that the doctor wanted to remember.

A Navy Lieutenant Faces Divided Loyalties in His Final Discharge of Duty by Fred D. Taylor (pp. 70-73)
Virginia-born career navy officer Otway Henry Berryman found himself in command of a vessel in Florida as the Union broke apart and was consumed by war. In the face of divided loyalties, Berryman managed to navigate uncharted political and military waters as tensions mounted in Pensacola Bay. He might have gone on to become one of the Union’s best-known naval commanders—then fate intervened.

The Honored Few (pp. 74-75)
Charles Henry Tompkins, a West Point dropout whose father was a career army officer, was perhaps an unlikely choice for a war hero. On June 1, 1861, on a scouting mission just outside Washington, D.C., he encountered Confederate troops. What followed was an encounter that became known as the Battle of Fairfax Court House. His aggressive actions were recognized with the Medal of Honor in 1893.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (pp. 76-77)
“Confederate Portraits” features three images of unidentified soldiers, including a rare wartime daguerreotype.

Sutler’s Row (p. 79)

The Last Shot (p. 80)
A carte de visite from the Michael J. McAfee Collection is a portrait of a trio of young ladies who have surrounded their captive, a Union first sergeant.

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 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 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

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

How to Make the Most of Your Military Images Search on JSTOR

JSTOR offers a powerful search tool to explore Military Images, and has a unique interface to guide you to the best possible results. There are two main ways to access our content:

  • Advanced Search: Using key terms and boolean operators to deliver relevant results, this is a great tool for in-depth fielded searches.
  • Browse: Organized by subject, title and publisher. If you are looking for a specific issue , this is a convenient way to access it.

Military Images recommends the Advanced Search to take full advantage of our full run of issues. Why? Because the JSTOR interface is designed to perform unique searches of value to collectors, historians, genealogists and other enthusiasts. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to and select “Advanced Search.” You don’t need to be logged in to search.
  2. On the search screen, enter key terms in the field boxes and the pull-down menus to connect the terms (and, or, not, near 5, near 10, near 25). You can add additional search boxes as needed. Scroll down to the “Journal of Book Title” field and type in Military Images. Fill in other boxes as desired.
  3. Select “Search.” A new page will load with your results.
  4. Select a search result to purchase a PDF of the story. To complete the purchase you will need to register for an account.

For further information, visit JSTOR’s collection of video tutorials.