Archives for : Shayne Davidson

USCT Album Donated to Smithsonian


An album of portraits of men from the 25th U.S. Colored Infantry has been donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The photos were published for the first time in the Winter 2014 issue of Military Images magazine.

The album was donated to the museum by a descendant of Capt. William A. Prickitt. The descendant currently remains anonymous. Prickitt started his military service in the 14th New Jersey Infantry, and became the original commander of Company G of the 25th when it was organized in Philadelphia in early 1864. The album contains 18 gem-sized photographs, almost all tintypes. Someone, perhaps Prickitt, carefully wrote the names of 17 of the 18 men on the mat below each image.

The soldiers hailed mainly from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One of the men, George H. Mitchell, was a slave in Delaware. His master, Caleb Layton, enlisted him in the Union army. Layton received the $300 bounty, a Mitchell received his freedom when his term of enlistment ended.

The album was brought to the attention of Military Images by Shayne Davidson, an artist and genealogist who discovered the photographs and created a series of drawings exhibited at ArtPrize 2013 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Her “Civil War Soldier” drawings were recognized in the top 25 of more than 1,500 entries.

According to a family story supported by military service records, Capt. Prickitt fell deathly ill during his service in the regiment, and noted that some of the men in his company nursed him beck to health. The men pictured in the album may have been the same soldiers that Prickitt credited with saving his life.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is scheduled to open in 2015. The album is planned to be part of two inaugural exhibits.

The Winter 2014 Issue Is Ready to Go to Press!

One of the editorial highlights of any publication is the moment you decide it is ready to go to press. The moment comes after weeks and months of planning, and a final few frenetic days of proofing pages, editing text and tweaking the design.

mi-editsThe ‘Moment’ for Military Images arrived last night when I put my red pen down, confident that the Winter 2014 issue (my first as editor and publisher) was completed.

And while my description may make it seem a solitary journey, it was anything but a lonesome adventure. My wife Anne has been great in every way, and her honest feedback along the way truly appreciated. Copy Editor Jack Hurov has been terrific. His work has sharpened the text and put MI on the path of a solid style guide that will be very useful for future issues. I am indebted to Senior Editor Mike McAfee for his great column, “Uniforms & History,” and for the number of times over the last few months that I’ve emailed him images with a request for his authoritative opinion, which he always gave quickly and decisively.

So many other friends of MI have rallied to support our efforts, and I’ve been overwhelmed with their generosity. Contributing Editors Ron Field, Steve Karnes, Scott Valentine and David W. Vaughan contacted me early on and shared their contributions and observations. They were not alone! Other contributors in this issue include Rick Carlile, David Cress, Shayne Davidson, Francis Guber, Janet & Bedford Hayes, Don Hopkins, Mike Hunt, Rich Jahn, Tom Liljenquist, Greg Mast, John Robella, Gary and Bill Stier, Bryan Watson and Buck Zaidel.

In the end, it is your passion, enthusiasm and energy that keeps MI alive. This thought is foremost in my mind this morning.

The work of course is not complete! Today, I’ll make pdfs of the pages and shipped them via DropBox to the printer. And planning is already underway for the Spring 2014 issue and beyond!