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Vicksburg Relics for Sale

A group of kids and a man close the deal on cash for Civil War relics picked up on the battleground of Vicksburg. None of the individuals are identified.

The orange label affixed to the card-stock mount notes the name of the collector who once owned this print: Charles Lawrence Longley (1843-1930), who served as quartermaster sergeant of the 24th Iowa Infantry during the war. He and his comrades participated in active operations at Vicksburg. Years later, on March 1, 1899, Longley joined the Vicksburg National Park Commission as assistant to the secretary and historian. The park had been established less than two weeks earlier to commemorate the siege and defense of the city.

Albumen print by John Calvin Coovert of Vicksburg, Miss. Bill Rodio Collection.
Albumen print by John Calvin Coovert of Vicksburg, Miss. Bill Rodio Collection.

A comparison of the face of the bearded man with the derby does not match late-life views of Longley, who remained at his post until 1913.

Another print of this scene, in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), provides two additional details. The photograph is dated March 25, 1899. The man behind the camera, John Calvin Coovert (1862-1937), operated galleries in several Mississippi locations before settling in Memphis. The MDAH notes, “Coovert is best known for his photographs of the cotton culture and the Mississippi River. However, Coovert’s documentary photography covered a wide range of work activities and social conditions, including the programs of the Memphis Health, Police, and Public Works Departments.”

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