Military Images

Research Rabbit Hole: Backdrop Business

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, May 3, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 9, is focused on backdrops, one of the great clues to help trace the photographers who used them—and, with a little grit, determination, and luck, maybe identifying the unknown face looking back at you. But where did photographers get those backdrops? We’ll shed some light on this question.

The full season is available on YouTube.

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

Research Rabbit Hole: Posing 101

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, April 5, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 7, provides answers to a deceptively simple question: Ever wondered why and how Americans of the 1860s posed for portraits? In this episode, we review instructions by traveling photographer B. Bradley to his patrons to help them make the most of their visit, and guidelines suggested by master daguerreian pioneer Marcus Aurelius Root in his 1864 photographer’s handbook, The Camera, and The Pencil.

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.

Research Rabbit Hole: Glass Negative Greenhouses

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

Season 1, Episode 5, examines a persistent story about Civil War photographers who, long after the end of hostilities, sold glass plate negatives of battlefields, famous generals and Abraham Lincoln as scrap glass later used in greenhouses. They gradually faded away—ironically destroyed by the very sunlight responsible for image creation. The story has been told by many, including Ken Burns. Did photographer’s really sell their negatives?

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.

Research Rabbit Hole: Anti-Confederate Art

A new episode of Research Rabbit Hole, our Facebook Live show, premiered Monday evening, January 25, at 9 p.m. ET.

Season 1, Episode 2, examined a carte de visite titled “The Neglected Picture,” a painting by Port Jefferson, N.Y., artist William Moore Davis.

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.

Gettysburg Gathering: Celebrating the Collecting Community

Collectors, dealers and other members of the Civil War collecting community third met for the Gettysburg Gathering on Friday night, June 28, 2019. The group met at historic Grand Army of the Republic Hall in downtown Gettysburg, Pa. The evening began with a buffet barbecue dinner catered by Biggerstaff’s and continued with welcome remarks by co-hosts Ron Coddington of Military Images magazine and Doug York of Civil War Faces and Civil War Faces Market Place. The two announced the formation of a new organization, the Civil War Photo Collectors Society. The main attraction of the night—four speakers who presented on a variety of Civil War photo-related topics.

Gary McQuarrie, Doug York, Rick Brown, Ron Coddington, Chuck Joyce and Dr. Kurt Luther.

The program:

Chuck Joyce.

The Sacrifice of Seven: Images and Stories of Union Casualties at Gettysburg
By Chuck Joyce, Senior Editor, Military Images
About a dozen years ago, I began to focus my collection on images and artifacts of men and boys who fell at Gettysburg—drawn, as countless others before me, to the special nature of this hallowed ground. In this talk, I share the stories of seven federal soldiers whose lives were lost or forever altered in the fighting that took place here, paying particular attention to  role that pension records and online sources, the network of fellow collectors, and just plain luck has played in helping to allow me to learn and tell the tale of their sacrifice.

Dr. Kurt Luther.

Civil War Photo Sleuthing: Past, Present, and Future
By Dr. Kurt Luther, Civil War Photo Sleuth
People have struggled to identify unknown soldiers and sailors in Civil War photos since even before the war ended. In this talk, I trace the 150-year history of photo sleuthing, showing how the passage of time has magnified some challenges, but also unlocked exciting new possibilities. I show how technologies like social media, face recognition, and digital archives allow us to solve photo mysteries that have eluded families and researchers for a century and a half.

Gary McQuarrie.

George Holmes Bixby, MD: Photographer on the Western Rivers
By Gary McQuarrie, Managing Editor, Civil War Navy—The Magazine 
Documentary evidence is reviewed that Dr. Bixby, the Chief Medical Officer on the USS Red Rover hospital ship, photographed many iconic gunboats and vessels of the Mississippi Squadron during his service in the theater and deserves to be recognized for his photographs and as one of a small group of physician photographers during the war.

Rick Brown.

Through a Collector’s Eye
By Rick Brown, Senior Editor, Military Images
I review a sampling of photographs from my collection with an eye to artistry, appreciation, and history. I also share stories about the community of collectors, and our role in preserving the wonderful images out there we’ve discovered and shared.

Traveling Exhibit: Fighting for Freedom

Museum-quality prints of 22 Images of African American Civil War soldiers pictured in a gallery published in last summer’s issue of MI and elsewhere were displayed in our first-ever traveling exhibit. The first stop for this unique group was the last stop for slaves fleeing to freedom along the Underground Railroad to Canada—the Hubbard House in Ashtabula, Ohio. Located along Lake Erie is northeast Ohio, the town marked the opening of the exhibit with a two-day event last weekend. Music, dramatic readings, a visit from Buffalo Soldiers bikers, and of course the portraits, each with a caption that tells the soldier’s story. Many thanks to all the collectors who shared their images for this event. They include Kevin Canberg, Greg French, Chuck Joyce, Paul Loane, Steve Meadow and Paul Russinoff.

Special thanks to Lisa Burroughs, who played a leading role in conceiving and organizing the event, the staff and volunteers of the Hubbard House, and the city of Ashtabula for turning out to see these powerful photographs that are such an important part of our nation’s story.

Read coverage from the Ashtabula Star Beacon.

Images from the exhibit will be on display for the next year.

tabula

Finding Aid: Winter 2019

The complete issue

Vol. XXXVII, No. 1
(80 pages)

No print issues in stock
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Inside

Cover image
A sixth-plate tintype from the Buck Zaidel Collection pictures two Union pards fighting for each other and the flag.
Download (free)

Table of Contents (p. 1)
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Editor’s Desk (p. 2)
The editor marks the magazine’s 40th year by placing the publication in context to key events in the modern history of collecting. Also noted is the passing of John R. Sickles, an icon in the collecting community and a former Senior Editor of MI.
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Mail Call (pp. 3-4)
Feedback includes an example of uncommon placement of chevrons on the coat sleeve of a hospital steward, a question about a Texas identification and a request for more Confederate images.
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Military Anthropologist (p. 4)
An analysis of the 19 loyal states that did not border the Confederacy shows seven exceeded their quotas for Union troops and the rest barely missed making their numbers.
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Passing in Review (p. 6)
Gettysburg’s Coster Avenue: The Brickyard Fight and the Mural (Gettysburg Publishing LLC) by Mark H. Dunkelman is the story of how one man’s vision added an artistic masterpiece to a less-traveled section of the Gettysburg battlefield.
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Photo Sleuth by Kurt Luther (pp. 8-9)
In “What to Do When Gold Standards Go Wrong,” Kurt revisits a column published in the Autumn 2016 issue after alert reader Doug Sagrillo presented him with an identified carte de visite that challenged another listed with a different name in a reputable public collection.

Antebellum Warriors (p. 10)
A quarter-plate ambrotype from the Dan Binder Collection is a portrait believed to be a militia staff officer sitting next to his feathered hat and a document.

Most Hallowed Ground (p. 12)
Pvt. George Washington Tucker survived the deadliest day in Vermont history—May 5, 1864. He and his fellow Vermonters suffered 1,234 casualties during the fighting in The Wilderness.

The Honored Few (p. 14)
Cecil Clay, a captain in the 58th Pennsylvania Infantry, was conspicuous for gallantry during the attack on Fort Harrison on Sept. 29, 1864. The fight cost him an arm, and resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Citizenry (p. 16)
A group of women stand on the back stairs of a clapboard building in Corning, N.Y. Several of them hold hats in various stages of completion, indicating that they are milliners.

Where Light Meets Lens: Representative images from the Buck Zaidel Collection (pp. 18-29)
Buck Zaidel is perhaps best known as the co-author of the book, Heroes for All Time: Connecticut Soldiers Tell Their Stories. He is also a savvy collector with a keen eye for unique images. Here we showcase selected images from his holdings.

Portraits on The Point: Representative photographs by the studio of Robert M. and James B. Linn by Dr. Anthony Hodges with images from his and other collections (pp. 31-42)
The rocky outcropping that overlooks Chattanooga, Tenn., became the scene of one the most dramatic moments of the Civil War after Union soldiers raised the Stars and Stripes in victory over Confederates on Nov. 25, 1863. Soon after, enterprising photographer Robert M. Linn set up a gallery and captured uncounted numbers of soldiers who visited the iconic spot. In this gallery, we showcase representative images from private collections. This is the second in a three-part series.

Jerseymen! A survey of Civil War soldiers and sailors from the John Kuhl collection (pp. 44-55)
The state of New Jersey’s contribution to Northern arms is evident in the faces and stories of volunteers who served in the Union armies during the Civil War. Original images are included here, many published here for the first time, along with their personal narratives.

New Jersey’s Splendid Colors Recall a Terrible Struggle (pp. 56-57)
An 1885 fire in the New Jersey state capitol building almost destroyed the precious colors carried by regiments during the late Civil War. The 19 men who saved the flags received badges of honor for heroism. One of them, William S. Stryker, accepted the badge with a moving speech.

Guardians of Honor: Men and events that shaped the Medal of Honor by Ron Maness (pp. 60-66)
Though the standard by which the Medal of Honor is substantially the same as it was during the Civil War, the process by which the awards are made is far more rigorous. Two stories here examine how the lack of validation impacted the decoration, and highlight the actions of two forgotten soldiers.

Captain Ramsey and the Birth of the “True Blues” by Ronald S. Coddington (pp. 68-70)
David Wardlaw Ramsey numbered among the first Alabama men to join the army in 1861. Those early, heady days of excitement soon gave way to pain, suffering and loss at Island No. 10, Port Hudson and elsewhere.

“Admiral Johnston”: An unofficial powder boy’s courage under fire by Ron Field (pp. 73-75)
Pint-size 6-year-old James Vincent Johnston could scarcely be kept out of harm’s way after he and his mother were trapped aboard the gunboat Forest Rose during a fight near Vicksburg, Miss., in early 1864. His father, the commander of the vessel, resorted to tying the boy to a chair in his cabin to keep him safe. It didn’t work. What happened next became the stuff of navy legend.

British Invasion! Confederate portraits in England by John O’Brien (pp. 76-77)
During the latter period of the war, a series of cartes de visite of Confederates, including President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and political and military leaders, was published in London by photographer Charles B. Walker in partnership with Florida lensman S.C. McIntyre. Long overlooked, we explore the history of this unique grouping.

Stragglers: Distinctive Images from MI contributors (pp. 78-79)
“Southern Warriors” features four images of Confederates.

The Last Shot (p. 80)
An eighth-plate tintype from the Michele Behan Collection is a portrait of a heavy artilleryman or an infantryman posed with a cannonball.

Blue, Gray & Khaki: Civil War Veterans and Doughboys

Last autumn, Military Images marked the centennial of World War I with a unique collection of images of Civil War veterans posed with Doughboys. In honor of their service, and as an ongoing part of our mission to showcase, interpret and preserve these old photos, we’re making this 11-page gallery available to you for free!
 

The Official Launch of Civil War Photo Sleuth

Kurt Luther, pictured here, in the moment he launched our Civil War Photo Sleuth software on August 1 in the Innovation Lab at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Kurt (head of CWPS), Ron Coddington (editor of Military Images magazine), and the rest of the team introduced guests throughout the day to the website to learn how to identify unknown Civil War photos, find photos of Civil War ancestors, and add identified photos to our reference database.

Attendees included Garry Adelman of the Civil War Trust and the Center for Civil War Photography, Melissa Winn of Civil War Times, Karen Chittenden from the Library of Congress and Tom Liljenquist, whose collection is part of the Library of Congress.

Images and live video of the event were carried on Facebook.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. CWPS is a historic moment for anyone interested in Civil War soldier and sailor photography.

Countdown to the Launch of Civil War Photo Sleuth

Thrilled to announce the public launch of our Civil War Photo Sleuth software in less than two weeks! This software uses face recognition and crowdsourcing to provide powerful new tools for photo research.

To celebrate, we are hosting a launch party Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the U.S. National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Kurt Luther (head of CWPS), Ron Coddington (editor of Military Images), and the rest of the team will be there. We can help you use the website, identify unknown Civil War photos, find photos of Civil War ancestors, and add identified photos to our reference database.

Both the website and party are completely free and open to all. If you are thinking of coming, please RSVP here (required for security reasons): https://goo.gl/forms/D59pFqZgWn35YF8z2 Hope that many of you can join us!

Make your plans now!