Finding Aid: July/August 1983


The complete issue

Vol. 5, No. 1
(32 pages)

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Cover Image
The cover image is a previously unpublished carte de visite image, taken from an ambrotype original, features Brigadier General James Longstreet from probably late 1861.

Editor’s Desk (inside front cover)
The editor introduces some of the important events of the Civil War that occurred in July and two articles that deal with them: Gettysburg and Vicksburg. He also gives some insight into future articles, and asks readers to submit images of Union and Confederate shelter halves, or “dog tents,” in use in the field.

Mail Call (p. 2)
This issue’s letters contain suggestions about content balance, some corrections, an announcement regarding a new monument being installed for the Michigan soldiers who fought at Perryville, and an alert regarding the theft of the sword and scabbard belonging to VMI founder Colonel J.T.L. Preston from the VMI Museum collection.

Passing in Review (p. 4)
Three reviews are included in this issue of Military Images. The first is of When War Passed This Way by W.P. Conrad and Ted Alexander, which provides readers with a case study of the occasionally humorous and sometimes frightening experiences of the Civil War in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. The second publication is Photography: The Early Years by George Gilbert, which not only provides information about dating certain types of images, but also how to make 19th century-type images. The feature concludes with Brother Against Brother: The War Begins, which is volume I of the Time-Life Series on the Civil War. Some contributors to Military Images also have contributed to this publication, which will include between 24 and 26 different volumes. The one under review looks at the 1850s with focus on several important factors that contributed to the conflict.

The Fight for Devil’s Den by Robert A. Braun (pp. 5-12)
The author recounts the story of the 124th Regiment of New York State Volunteer Infantry from Orange County during their fighting on the second day of the Gettysburg fighting. After reorganizing due to losses at Chambersburg, the unit led by Col. Augustus Van Horne Ellis, who had called out his men in that fight with “Hie! Hie! My Orange Blossoms!” the men began to wear orange ribbons on their uniforms and were proud of their nickname as they moved north into Pennsylvania. Complete with a map showing the placement and eventual movement of the units fighting on both sides around Devil’s Den, the author describes the conflict as the 124th walked through a perfect field of wheat to take their place in battle line. The 124th lost all of their field officers, and four company grade officers, with one in three of the men either wounded or killed. A sidebar describes the life story of Col. Ellis, and an epilogue describes how he and another officer were returned to their families as well as a commentary on the lack of historical investigation on the fight at Devil’s Den and its true impact on the outcome of Gettysburg.

The Death of “French Mary” by Marie Varrelman Melchiori (pp. 14-15)
Past issues of Military Images have featured the story of “French Mary” Tepe, and brought up several questions about the life of this vivandiere from the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. The author of the current article has provided answers to some of these, including wartime information regarding her two husbands and the fact that she was in the company of her second husband at the time of her death. The author has included an article from a 1901 Pennsylvania newspaper recounting some of these stories as it announced her death by suicide and a photograph of Mrs. Mary Leonard at a regimental reunion in 1893.

The Hanging of William Johnson by William Frassanito (pp. 16-18)
In an excerpt from his upcoming volume Grant and Lee: the Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865, the author describes the June 20, 1864 hanging of a black Union soldier for the rape of a white woman; the hanging was done in full view of the Confederates, who shelled the location beforehand. The photographs in the article are interesting in that they were made by rival photographic teams (Gardner and Brady), there was some research confusion about the identity of the hanged man, and the background of the images provides good evidence as to where the actual hanging took place.

Quentin Roosevelt’s Last Flight: A Vignette from the First World War by Charles Worman (pp. 20-22)
The brief military career of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons is outlined in this article. Serving as a pursuit pilot 95th Aero Squadron at Orly from June 17, 1918, Quentin Roosevelt had one verified victory over a German aircraft before being shot down on July 14, 1918. The Germans were able to verify his identity at the site, and produced postcards with Roosevelt’s body in view for propaganda value. They did, however, provide the son of the former president with a burial with full military honors, a hand-made wooden cross to mark his burial spot, and a three-man guard of honor that remained in place until the Americans retook the site in early August. The article then recounts the history of various crosses and memorials to mark Quentin Roosevelt’s burial site until his reburial next to his brother Theodore, Jr., who died in France shortly after the Normandy Invasion in 1944. The original German cross was eventually given to the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, for exhibition.

Uniforms: M1872 Foot Artillery Shako by Robert Borrell, Sr. (p. 23)
This short pictorial article features two images with the rarely photographed 1872 full-dress artillery shako. One is a family portrait with two regular soldiers, and presumably their mother, with both of the soldiers wearing their shako for the image. The other is an unknown militiaman holding the shako and a cavalry saber, suggesting that both might be photographer props. However, a close-up of the shako from this image gives a clear view of the shako.

The Siege of Vicksburg by John W. Paul, 23rd Wisconsin (pp. 24-25)
Edited by Dorothy Murphy, this excerpt of Paul’s unpublished memoirs describes his recollections from the burial of the dead after Champion’s Hill and marching to the forts at Vicksburg on May 20, 1863, to watching General Grant ride into Vicksburg with a cigar in his mouth on July 4, 1863. The account gives the reader a glimpse into what it was like to be involved in this campaign by describing not being allowed fires to cook on one occasion and what Paul did when his rifle took a bullet during battle. There are several personal stories included that can only be recounted by someone who was there.

Weapons: Billinghurst-Requa Gun at Fort Wagner, South Carolina by Ken Baumann (p. 26)
Based on an accompanying photograph showing the men of the 39th Illinois Infantry with the earliest known image of a machine gun, the article explains how the Billinghurst-Requa gun was developed and how it worked. The image includes a view of the 25-cartridge clip used by the gun being taken out of a limber chest in preparation for firing the gun. The Requa gun was given positive comments by Major T. B. Brooks writing during the siege of Charleston and also by the eventual regimental history of the 39th which described its use and battlefield impact.

Stragglers (pp. 27-30)
Some rare insignia are shown in this issue, with Frederick J. Kenyon in a photograph wearing the first U.S. enlisted air service insignia for enlisted men worn during World War One. Another image is of a bawdy and rare shoulder belt plate found at the location of a Confederate camp in Georgia. Other images include some American forces “somewhere in France” during World War One playing dice, a quarter-plate tintype of Company I, 18th New York Infantry informally posing during the Civil War, and a quarter-plate daguerreotype of an unidentified corporal from Company C, 71st New York State Militia taken before 1857.

Back Image
An unpublished carte de visite of General John Bell Hood with a pair of crutches takes its place on the back cover of the issue.

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