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Drink Up, Pard!

These Virginia heavy artillerymen attack a bottle of wine, as evidenced by the two generously filled drinking glasses. Theories for exactly what they celebrated abound: The Confederacy, joining the army, military success or comradeship to name a few. Whatever the reason for this pose, it is clear that for these two men, life was good—for the moment.

At some point, an X was scratched above the head of the gunner on the right. This mark was used in period photographs (or numbers in group portraits) to reference the individual. The reference was commonly in the form of a note, which in this case has become separated from the image.

Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Daniel Taylor Collection.
Quarter-plate ambrotype by an anonymous photographer. Daniel Taylor Collection.
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