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Antebellum Warriors

Ninth-plate daguerreotype by an anonymous photographer. Ron Field collection.
Ninth-plate daguerreotype by an anonymous photographer. Ron Field collection.

One finds it difficult to discern whether the subject of this portrait is a soldier or a civilian. The pattern 1839 fatigue cap, worn at a jaunty angle, and the tongue and wreath belt plate partially concealed under his shirt, indicates a military connection. Upon first glance, the light-colored sack coat appears civilian in nature, though another daguerreotype of a man wearing a similar coat and belt suggests otherwise. “We might be looking at an unrecorded fatigue dress for maybe volunteer militia, cadet, or military school outfit,” notes Ron Field, who owns this image.

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