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1851 Regs

Half-plate daguerreotype by an anonymous photographer. Rich Jahn Collection.
Half-plate daguerreotype by an anonymous photographer. Rich Jahn Collection.

The deeply lined face of this regular army captain, and his shock of white hair, indicate he is a veteran of life and military service. Details of his dress uniform and accouterments conform to the 1851 regulations. Of note is his staff buttons, epaulettes secured by shoulder straps and Model 1850 foot officer’s sword. His waist belt plate is worthy of special notice: The eagle faces opposite the normal direction, which indicates a very early 1851 pattern engraved by F.C. Key & Sons of Philadelphia, Pa., and produced by another Philadelphia company, Horstmann Brothers. This plate dates from about 1852 to 1855.

A newspaper clipping tucked behind the image is an obituary for James L. Adams (1837-1914), a Virginia-born tobacco manufacturer who died in Louisville, Ky. He may be connected to the family of this officer, who, judging from his appearance, was born about the late 18th or early 19th century.

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