Finding Aid: March/April 1983


The complete issue

Vol. 4, No. 5
(32 pages)

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Cover Image
Tinted in green, the cover image features a soldier proudly holding the banner of the 88th New York Infantry – the Irish Brigade of the Army of the Potomac.

Editor’s Desk (inside front cover)
The editor introduces the featured article that ties to the front cover. The magazine takes on an Irish theme with an article by Joseph G. Bilby about the Irish Brigade in the Civil War.

Mail Call (pp. 2-3)
Letters from the readership include various corrections to a few articles, the identification of a “Straggler” item and a photograph from an article, a question regarding a uniform insignia from a member of the 27th Alabama Infantry, two warnings about “fake” cartes de visite and cabinet cards, and a clarification regarding copyright violations.

Company C, 3rd Cavalry by Douglas C. McChristian (pp. 4-6)
The two images presented in this article may appear to be two different units out in the Wild West somewhere, they are actually taken of the same unit on a hill on Fort Davis, Texas, most likely between March 1886 and October 1887. Close-up investigation identifies the men as belonging to Company C of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. The remainder of the article assesses the equipment used by the men and their horses based on the images: carbine slings, cartridge belts, saber belts, belt plates, holsters, clothing, weapons, horse equipment, etc. The article concludes that the men did not necessarily follow the uniform regulations of General Orders No. 73 as one might have imagined.

Vignette: John H. Carter, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A. by John Ertzgaard (p. 8)
John H. Carter had an adventurous military career, taking part in John Hunt Morgan’s raid on Ohio, as well as being captured (and escaping) three times. The article provides detail on some of his adventures, culminating with Carter riding as an escort during Jefferson Davis’ escape, eventually surrendering at Washington, Georgia in May 1865.

Vignette: Henry Kirby, 15th Iowa Infantry, U.S.A. by Sharon L. Ball (p. 9)
Enlisting as a substitute for a wealthy man from Osceola, Iowa in March 1864, Kirby went with the 15th Iowa soon went south, being part of the push towards Atlanta. His unit was caught in the fighting that led to the death of McPherson, which the article describes in detail. Eventually captured, Henry Kirby was sent to Andersonville, where he contracted typhus, dying after he was exchanged.

Schmaltz: Sentimental Photography at the Turn of the Century by Carol Villa (pp. 10-14)
The article begins with a discussion of how sentimental images became popular at the end of the 19th century, and included military images with the advent of the Spanish-American War. Ending about the time of World War One, the pictorial shows a sampling of the “cute” and the “patriotic” images typical of the time. Postcards showing a small tyke in grown-up uniform captioned with “If McKinley Wants Me, I’ll Serve” or “The Regimental Mascot” are two examples, along with stereo views that told a story of soldiers falling in love, being heroic in battle, and then returning to claim the lady he loves.

Remember Fontenoy!: The 69th New York and the Irish Brigade in the American Civil War by Joseph G. Bilby (pp. 16-24)
Recounting the history of this storied unit, the author takes the reader from the development of the court martial of Colonel Michael Corcoran, who refused to march the 69th New York State Militia Regiment before the Prince of Wales before the outbreak of the Civil War through losses at Bull Run, Antietam, and the wearing of the evergreen at Fredericksburg. The author includes two sidebar articles, with the first providing a brief biography of General Thomas F. Meagher, who led the Irish Brigade until mid-1863. The second provides an outline of the Irish history of participating as exiles in both the French and Spanish armies, in order to fight against the British. The article ends with an accounting of the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg and during the draft riots in New York shortly thereafter. The unit was reconstituted during the winter of 1863-64, but lost its completely Irish composition, serving until the end of the war.

Passing in Review (p. 25)
Two items are offered for review in this issue, one film production and one book publication. The film is Antietam Revisited by the National Park Service. With realistic reenactment of the three major confrontations during the bloodiest day of battle, the film also focuses on Lincoln’s post-battle visit to McClellan and the decision for emancipation. The book is The Embattled Confederacy, Vol. III by William C. Davis in his Images of War series. Generally given a good review, there are a few errors in identification that the readers should be aware of.

Teddy Takes a Ride by Leon Comstock (pp. 26-27)
Edited by Orton Begner, the author describes the time he returned Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr. to his command in Germany after World War One. He was returning after the funeral of his father and Private Leon Comstock was assigned to drive him. With only an Indian motorcycle and a sidecar, Comstock and Roosevelt made their way from village to village, with the popular regimental commander receiving cheers from the units they met along the way. Despite a near crash down a frozen hill into the village of Unterhausen, Private Comstock was able to complete this memorable assignment.

The Ninth’s New Colonel: A humorous tale of Old New York by Robert E. Mulligan Jr. (p. 29)
The tale of how the 9th Regiment of Infantry, National Guard, State of New York avoided disbandment in 1870 involves individuals of power and position, and with connections to Tammany Hall. “Jubilee Jim” Fisk was well-known to New Yorkers and despite his total lack of military ability, he was elected as the colonel of the unit. He was able to use his deep pockets to ensure the continuation of the 9th. The article recounts the events of July 12, 1871: the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, which set the Irish and their rival Orangemen against one another. As the Orangemen marched, a number of regiments were ordered to provide them protection, including the 9th. Colonel Jim ended up injured and disguised to escape as gunfire between the marchers, regiments, and the crowd rang out, while four guardsmen, 41 citizens, and no Orangemen lay dead.

Stragglers (pp. 30-31)
This issue of Military Images asks readers to “Find the Fake(s)” within a collection of seven different images, some of which were previously unpublished.

Back Cover
A wedding portrait dating from the 1870s is the subject of the cabinet card featured on the back cover.

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