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Stragglers

Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Anthony F. Gero Collection.

Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Anthony F. Gero Collection.

A soldier in the 9th New York Infantry, popularly known as Hawkins’ Zouaves for its colonel, Rush Hawkins, stands with his hands at his side. A Masonic pin on his jacket, in the shape of a trowel, signifies brotherly love. Considering that Masonic bonds often, but not always, were stronger than blue or gray, the pin might have saved his life had he come out on the wrong side of a battle. Note the backdrop. It appears painted with ink wash, rather than the more common oil or gouache. Cabins, a freshly sawed tree, and an owl dominate the scene.

Sixth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Gary Pagel Collection.

Sixth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Gary Pagel Collection.

The cotton strap sliding to the front of the canteen cradled by this infantryman gives it the appearance of uniqueness, when it fact it is standard issue. His uniform coat is also standard, including the tall collar. Some soldiers had these collars trimmed to avoid abrasions to the neck, jawline and chin. He also carries a haversack which may be constructed of rubber or gutta percha instead of tarred linen.

Half-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Hal Trammell Collection.

Half-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Hal Trammell Collection.

A greatcoat-clad Union soldier stands in front of a backdrop picturing a camp scene. The realism of the painting and the underlying draftsmanship suggests the work of a well-trained artist. It is uncommon to see such professionalism compared to the vast majority of primitive or semi-primitive canvases.

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