Military Images

Civil War Buglers

A gallery of 31 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 bugles and trumpets. All are Union musicians.

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

Mississippi Marine Brigade

One of the Civil War’s most novel fighting forces, the Mississippi Marine Brigade, began its life as a fleet of rams, the brainchild of civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr. After his death from an infected wound, command passed to his brother, Alfred, who built the MMB. This is its story.

Story by Paul Russinoff

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

The Compact

In 1864, a dozen soldiers at the U.S.A. General Hospital in York, Pa., pondered their futures. The men, including three hospital stewards, planned a reunion at Niagara Falls in 1884 to find out where life took them after the war ended. What happened to them, and the fate of the reunion, is revealed in this account.

Story by Ronald S. Coddington

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

“Lost an Arm in Freedom’s Fray”

About 25,000 Union soldiers suffered amputations during the Civil War. These limbless men re-entered society, some faring well and others not. Here, we examine seven men who lost an arm as a result of the Battle of Gettysburg. Among them is artilleryman John F. Chase, who barely escaped when a canister charge exploded prematurely. Surgeons counted 48 shrapnel wounds on his body.

Story by Charles T. Joyce

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

My Colorful Past

“Coloring imagery is as old as photography itself,” notes Matt Loughrey, owner of My Colorful Past, a company that colorizes and adds motion to historic images. In this Q&A, he discusses the art, science and technology behind the modern coloring of images.

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

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.