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The Summer 2023 Issue

I am pleased to share our latest issue, which is pegged to the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. This well-preserved battleground where Union and Confederate infantry, artillery and cavalry clashed for three days, July 1-3, 1863, ended an invasion of the North that threatened to topple the federal government and destroy the U.S. Constitution. A day later, July Fourth, the surrender of the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Miss., sounded the death knell of the rebellion.

To mark the Gettysburg 160th, we offer two features.

Paul Bolcik takes a fresh look at what he labels “the vast void” of an iconic photograph—the three Confederate prisoners at Gettysburg. Paul traces the origins of the image from one in a series of stereo cards published just weeks after the battle to its rise in commemorative books from a secondary image in a collage to a full page, standalone photograph. Considering its status, it is remarkable how little we know about the men and the circumstances behind the pose.

Chuck Joyce takes us on a 21-stop tour of Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ National Cemetery using portrait photographs of those buried in its hallowed ground. Chuck provides background material to help you appreciate how the cemetery came into existence. The real power of this tour is that you can use the accompanying map and profiles to learn more about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. It is also a creative way to use Civil War portrait photographs to put a face with the stone sentinels neatly arranged in semicircles radiating from the impressive, towering monument at its center.

You’ll also find other feature stories, including Glen Hayes’ unique collage of relics from the restoration of the Stars and Stripes above Fort Sumter in April 1865, George Whiteley’s account of the reunion magic that brought together daguerreotypes of a Philadelphia officer taken minutes apart about 175 years ago, and Marcy Zimmer’s telling of the long road to recovery for Maj. Ephraim C. Dawes of the 53rd Ohio Infantry, who survived a disfiguring face wound and reconstructive surgery to rebuild his damaged jaw and chin.

Marcy happens to be a high school senior who plans to attend Gettysburg College and study history in the fall. She is the future of American History!

I encourage you to read about artificial intelligence (AI) and its evolutionary impacts on identification and Civil War photography in two columns: Kurt Luther’s Photo Sleuth and Adam Fleischer’s Behind the Backdrop.

You will also find our other regular columns covering the Civil War through unique lenses. Military Anthropologist uses data from Newspapers,com to look at popular names for cartes de visite. Passing in Review considers Jeff Harding’s new book, Gettysburg’s Lost Love Story. In Most Hallowed Ground, we profile William A. MacNulty of the 10th New York Infantry. In The Honored Few, we share the Medal of Honor story of Maj. Gen. Julius H. Stahel. The Citizenry showcases a carte de visite given by a daughter to her soldier-father. In Fakes, Forgeries and Frauds, Perry Frohne highlights an auction seller who made a tidy profit by selling phony cartes de visite. Ron Field shines a light on another unpopular early war experimental hat, the Edmands, in Material Culture. Our Stragglers column features a half-plate ambrotype by Charles R. Rees of a Confederate lieutenant that turned up a few years ago at a Michigan estate sale. Scott Valentine’s Vignette recounts the life and suicide of Thomas S. Thorp Jr. of the 23rd New York National Guard—a strong case for Civil War PTSD.

I hope you find all our features and columns useful in your explorations of the Civil War.

Ronald S. Coddington
Editor & Publisher

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