Military Images

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.

Research Rabbit Hole: Inside an Iron Brigade Pension

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 8, is focused on a soldier who served in the storied 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, an Iron Brigade regiment that made its name at Gettysburg and other major Civil War battles. The 2nd paid a high price in casualties, including Sgt. Theodore Dosch Bahn of Company H. A look inside his pension file provides details about his military service—and reveals the value of these unique documents as a research tool.

The full season is available on YouTube.

New episodes of Research Rabbit Hole will be released every two weeks on our Facebook page. The host, Ronald S. Coddington, is Editor and Publisher of Military Images.

Confederate Soldier, Family Slave

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One of the most unique Civil War images to surface in recent years is now part of the Liljenquist Family Collection at the Library of Congress. According to Tom Liljenquist, the sixth-plate tintype of Sgt. Andrew Martin Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Infantry and his family slave, Silas, was delivered to the Library this afternoon.

Liljenquist, accompanied by Chandler Battaile Jr., a descendent of Sgt. Chandler, were met by senior staff and other Library employees to receive the photo about 3 pm today.

The image has been a focus of attention since it was shown on PBS in a 2009 episode of Antiques Roadshow, and again in a 2011 segment of History Detectives. The photo has been put forth by some as proof that Silas was a “Black Confederate” who fought for the South, while others have provided primary research that establishes Silas was no more than a slave who served two of his master’s soldier sons during the war.

The Chandler story has been the subject of numerous books and articles. Battaile has requested that the version included in my 2012 book, African American Faces of the Civil War, be posted with the image on the Library’s site along with the image. I wrote another version that appeared as part of the New York Times Disunion series, “A Slave’s Service in the Confederate Army.”

The image included here was taken from a scan that I made from the original tintype with permission of Chandler Battaile Jr. in 2009.