Military Images

A Savior of the Capitol

Benjamin Franklin Watson, a New Hampshire native who settled in Lowell, Mass., before the war, served in the 6th Massachusetts Infantry when the regiment received orders to report to Washington, D.C., during the days following the rebel attack on Fort Sumter. The author details Watson’s rise from a respected leader in Lowell to his leadership of the regiment as it journeyed through hostile mobs in Baltimore to sleeping in the U.S. Capitol and beyond. The story is illustrated with portraits of Watson and others.

Story by Paul Russinoff

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

Drummers: A Gallery

A gallery of 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 their drums. All are Union musicians.

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

Why Do Photographs Fade?

Concern about the yellowing and fading of albumen prints is almost as old albumen paper itself. Invented in 1850, it made the mass production of photographs possible—but the deterioration of the prints prompted the esteemed Photographic Society of London to open an investigation in 1855. This is a brief history of the problems and what today’s collectors can do to protect their treasures.

Story by Ronald S. Coddington

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

Not a Forty-Eighter

Social unrest in Germany during the mid-19th century ended in a nasty military crackdown that resulted in a wave of German immigration to the U.S. One of the soldiers who fought to put down the German rebels, Earnest Barth, followed them to America. After the start of the Civil War, he donned Union blue and helped put down the Southern rebellion.

Story by Daniel Carroll Toomey

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

Case Number 16

Respected Lt. John Sandford Williams of the 3rd Delaware Infantry found himself in a tough situation at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run. A fellow officer suffered a wound and pleaded with Williams to help him to safety. Williams acted with compassion and helped the man—and it resulted in his court martial. The author, a descendant of Williams, tells his ancestor’s story and reveals how commanders can treat honor and pride.

Story by Patrick Naughton

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

Hidden Beauty of an Ambrotype

Using a scanner equipped with a film negative feature, Adam Ochs Fleischer used this setting to scan an ambrotype of a sailor. The result was a scan that revealed stunning details not visible in the original image. Learn more.

“Palms of Victory”

Mary Dines escaped slavery in Maryland and fled to Washington, D.C., where she spent time at a Freedman’s camp and had the opportunity to sing for President Abraham Lincoln. Her story was told in the 1942 book They Knew Lincoln by John E. Washington. Learn more.

10th New York Cavalry

Three surviving carte de visite albums filled with images of identified troopers of the 10th New York Cavalry are at the heart of this investigation. The author’s research reveals where and when they were taken, why these specific individuals were photographed, and the probable identity of the photographer. Learn more.

Fifers

A gallery of images collected in collaboration with Editor Dale Nielsen of the Facebook group “The Image Collector” and contributions by collectors, reviewed by Contributing Editor Chris Nelson, is focused on soldiers pictured with their fifes. The majority of images are individual Union portraits. One Confederate image features a fifer posed with his instrument and a Bowie knife. Learn more.

Black Friday

Give the gift of Civil War photos to your family’s history buff. Go to shopmilitaryimages.com and use the code BLACKFRIDAY to save 50% off a new subscription to our quarterly magazine. 80 pages, full color.