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Is this guy wearing a uniform from the Civil War?


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Okay...I'll fully admit that I know WW1-Vietnam uniforms well and medals very well...but get before the 20th century and my amount of knowledge would fit in a (very small) teacup! :D

 

Anyway, while sorting through my in-law's estate and dumping tons (I've taken over 8,000 pounds of boxes full of STUFF to the dump in the last month...) of misc. stuff, I ran across a photo album and in it was this photo. I THINK he might be a relative. My father in law's family was from PA and I think at least one member served in the Civil War.

So my question...is this photo from the Civil War? If so, can anyone offer up some details on what kind of uniform (beyond that "it's a Union one"...I have watched Gettysburg, after all...) ;) and weapons he's holding? I need to dig into the family tree a bit to see if I can pin down an ID on him.

 

Thanks!

Dave

 

 

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easterneagle87

Thats a great photo! My two cents, definitely Civil War,quick google search found this in Wisconsin uniforms

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That was quick, thanks!

 

From his uniform, any idea of his rank?

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Defiantly a Civil War Federal Cavalryman however the photograph is a copy of an earlier photograph. Probably dates to around 1900 based on photographers stamp and matte. Civil war photographs where car de visite , tintype and ambrotype. What you are showing is a Cabinet card type photograph that date from the 1870's-1910 time frame. Probably what happened is that more than one family member wanted a copy of the soldier and so they were made from the original ambrotype. Great image, if the actual photograph dated from the Civil War, it would be pricey as far as value was concerned.

Regards,

Terry

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That was quick, thanks!

 

From his uniform, any idea of his rank?

 

Enlisted man's hat (metal insignia - not bullion insignia on velvet oval of an officer). No chevrons. So, a private.

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Great picture, heavly armed soldier. Very nice. Hope you can I'd him. Trace your genealogy. Its not hard to do. Good luck!

He has Sgt. stripes on his sleeve. opps that's the second picture. Yours's I would also agree enlisted Pvt.

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Thanks guys!

 

Once I figure out who he was, I'll post up here. I THINK he's one of eight kids who was born to my father in law's great-great grandfather. Unfortunately, I've discovered boxes full of hundreds of old photos and with the passage of time, who they were has faded away. Many do have names written on them, so maybe I'll find another one that I can use to identify him. At some point, when I have time, I want to scan all of the photos and add them to each person's ancestry.com profiles. Maybe when I retire... :D (As an aside, these photos were lucky to survive a flood we had back in 2010...my father in law filled up an entire trash can (the rolling automated dumping ones) full of old photos that had gotten wet and stuck together after the flood waters receded. God only knows what all was in there as he's the last of his family and has ended up with most of the family "heritage". Very sad...)

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The insignia plainly indicates the fellow was in Company K of 4th regiment of cavalry. There is nothing in the uniform that narrows it done to which 4th cavalry. I do notice, however, that the backmark on the image is Franklin, Pa. This only tells you where the copy was made of course, and as Ludwigh1980 notes the copy was likely made around 1900, so original image may have traveled from elsewhere. That having been said, Company K of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry was raised in Venango County, which is where Franklin is located, so you have a very good chance that this is a member of that company and a search of their roster for a familiar family name would be a start.

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I should add that a shortcut to the particular roster would be to simply google "Civil War soldiers from Franlkin Pa" or from Venango County PA. This will probably get you to a roster based on Bates, the standard source for PA Volunteers. Bates can be inaccurate or incomplete for service data, so you will want to check the NPS soldiers and sailors system and fold3, and also check to see if there is a regimental history that might be available through archive.org, etc.

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VolunteerArmoury

It may be an image of a pre-Civil War Cavalryman. It’s interesting that his sabre insignia in the manner that the early Cavalry wore it for three months or so in 1858 with the sabre blades down & the letter placement.

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Man, people can overthink this.

 

You have a second-generation copy photo of a cavalryman in Co. K, 4th Cavalry. At the time the image was taken, he was a private.

 

With a PA photographer imprint, the logical starting place is to look for a relative in the 4th PA Cav; but most states had a "4th Cavalry" regiment, and there is also the possibility of the 4th US Cavalry.

 

He has a very "by the book/regulation" appearance, other than the uniform variant of a jacket devoid of branch trim, that otherwise is typical of a mounted (cavalry) jacket. This is probably just a contract variant.

 

The shoulder scales are just the brass regulation scales meant to hypothetically protect against saber strikes and be attractive for dress purposes.

 

My first instinct says this photo was probably taken early in his enlistment, when all of the bells and whistles were still important. When active campaigns began, such things usually became less common unless his regiment had a real stickler for a company commander.

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Dave,

This sabre he is holding is a British Pattern 1821 enlisted cavalry Type 1 contract saber manufactured by either Schnitzler and Kirschbaum of Solingen, Prussia or Robert Mole of Birmingham, England. The Tiffany Company of New York City imported and sold these sabers during the Civil War. The cavalry saber has a two branch steel hilt with a slightly curved steel blade that measures 35½” long, a width of 1¼” and a 21” long unstopped fuller. Obverse ricasso is marked with the star over TC (Tiffany). Reverse ricasso unmarked.

This information and photo is from The Horse Soldier.

Dick

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Great image-- as stated a later copy image probably 1890s- 1905 based on the mount. Looks to be copied from a tintype (hat insignia is mirrored).

 

Usually copy image don't garner much attention, but this one is an exception.

 

Triple armed, but what I like is his hardee hat on the photographers head clamp. Really an exceptional copy image and worth a good bit.

 

Scott

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Great photo Dave! I would say that the weaponry was probably property of the photographer and used to enhance the photo for the folks back home. Obviously, if he were issued a pistol, he would be wearing a holster and would probably not have been issued an 1851 Colt Navy. The dagger reinforces my opinion that they were added for the photograph.

 

Allan

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Pennsylvania Kept excellent records too. As for the ancestry it never ends, I've been adding for years. After awhile it seems like your related to everyone. LOL. Just made a connection that was missing, I now have a great uncle who was in the Spanish American War. So that fills it out for US wars. :) Kinda like Lt. Dan, but all mine lived.

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I agree with MAW that we have probably overdone the commentary, but what the heck. Here's a couple more points. I think the jacket does have regulation trim. The contrast with the coat body is just washed out in the copying process, but you can make it out a bit on one cuff and the bottom of his lapel. I don't think the image is prewar. Lots of early CW cav guys show they were not exactly familiar with how to put on the brass insignia. More importantly, up until 1861 the army did not have a mounted regiment designated "4." The knife and pistol do seem to be additions to add to his warlike appearance, either courtesy of the photographer or a buddy waiting in line for his turn in front of the camera. But the saber is mounted on a regulation saber belt and more likely to be his. That it is non-regulation is a good indicator it is early war, when state and federal governments were scrambling to get arms and US makers were not able to supply them. The saber belt shows no rivets, also an indicator of early war production, and his trousers seem to be dark blue, which was used early in the war until the government went back to the prewar sky blue.

In other words, the answer to the question posed is yes.

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