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Stragglers

Ninth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Paul Reeder Collection.
Ninth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Paul Reeder Collection.

A solemn soldier uniformed in a coat with distinctive trim is armed with a Sheffield knife and a U.S. Model 1822 musket. The star on his high-crowned plumed hat is seen in soldier portraits from Mississippi and other Southern states.

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Bruce Bonfield Collection.
Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Bruce Bonfield Collection.

An artilleryman shows off the weapons he might use to defend his battery—a Bowie knife and a pistol. A lanyard strung around the collar of his red-trimmed jacket crosses over the chest pocket of the coat.

Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Richard J. Ferry Collection.

Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Richard J. Ferry Collection.

The majority of young men from Calhoun County, Ala., served in “The Calhoun Boys,” which became Company E of the 22nd Alabama Infantry. But a group from the eastern part of the county crossed into neighboring Randolph County and enlisted in the regiment’s Company F. One of these “Eastern Calhoun Boys” was Pvt. William S. Pessnell. The first mention of his name on the company roll is in May 1862 and the last March 1864. He died of disease at about age 26. He is armed with a U.S. Model 1842 musket and a D-Guard Bowie knife.

Ninth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Colt Johnson Collection.

Ninth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Colt Johnson Collection.

By 1864, the Confederate army was desperate for new recruits. In North Carolina, boys and old men were organized into the Junior and Senior Reserves to guard and defend critical military posts. One of the youths who joined the Junior Reserves was Donalson Gwyn of Caswell County. He was about 18 years old. Gwyn ultimately became a private in Company G of the 1st Regiment, North Carolina Junior Reserves.

On or about June 7, 1864, he wrote from camp to his family, “Tell all the boys here is the place for them.”

Five months later he was dead, a victim of disease.

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Brian Boeve Collection.

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Brian Boeve Collection.

A boy soldier shows off a Colt Third Model Dragoon revolver with an 8-inch barrel. He wears a waterproof cap and stripes on his uniform coat cuff. The provenance of the image suggests a possible Virginia connection.

Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Terry Burnett Collection.
Sixth-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Terry Burnett Collection.

A dashing soldier with perfectly coiffed hair and mustache appears cool and confident. His collar with dark trim is common to many Southern states, including Georgia, where this image was found in Marietta about two decades ago.

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