Bringing the past to life with colour

American Civil War

John Surratt, Conspirator

John Harrison Surratt, Jr

John Harrison Surratt, Jr. was certainly involved in the plot to kidnap Abraham Lincoln in 1864, but there was sufficient doubt in his involvement in Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 that, when extradited from Egypt, after something of a world tour of escaping, in early 1867, he was released on $25,000 bail and the case against him for murder was declared a mistrial. All the other charges relating to the kidnap plot had passed the statute of limitations.

This photo was taken in 1867, while Surratt was on, or awaiting, his trial. He is still wearing the uniform of the Papal Zouaves (Pope’s infantry), with whom he had briefly served while on the run, using the alias John Watson.

 

John Harrison Surratt, Jr. in Papal Zouave uniform, c. 1867

Original B&W photo from the Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.


Nimrod Burke

Nimrod Burke2
Nimrod Burke was born a free man in Prince William county, Virginia in 1836. His family moved to Washington County, Ohio, in 1854. Nimrod found employment as a handyman in Marietta, a little over 10 miles from the family home in Newport, and was only able to visit at weekends.

His employer was a prominent lawyer, and abolitionist, by the name of Melvin C. Clarke who, at the start of the American Civil War in 1861, was appointed a Major in the Union Army. Nimrod would have joined the army too, but blacks were not eligible to serve as soldiers, Instead, knowing that Nimrod had been raised in Virginia, hired him as a teamster-scout for the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who then went to Tidewater Virginia to fight the Confederates.

Then, in 1863, War Department issued General Order Number 143 which allowed the recruitment of African-American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. Nimrod remained a scout until 1864, when he joined Company F of the 23rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, where he was assigned the rank of sergeant.

In an ironic twist of fate, Nimrod, and his regiment, were in attendance at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Forces. The neither man would have been aware of it, Nimrod’s family were freed by an ancestor of Lee’s, Robert  Carter III, around 1793.

 

Nimrod-Burke-Photo1
Original B&W photo.


John Sherman

John_Sherman,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_ca1860-1865

Senator John Sherman, pictured between 1861 and 1865. Sherman mainly concerned himself with financial matters throughout his political career, but two finance Acts were particularly significant in the Civil War. The Confiscation Act of 1861 allowed the government to confiscate any property, including slaves, that were being used to support the Confederate war effort. The Second Confiscation Act of 1862 clarified that slaves “confiscated” under the 1861 Act were freed.
He also supported the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery, in 1864.

 

John_Sherman,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_ca1860-1875

Original daguerreotype from the Brady studio.


Robert G. Ingersoll – “The Great Agnostic”

Robert_G._Ingersoll_-_Brady-Handy

Robert Green Ingersoll, pictured here sometime between 1865 and 1880.
His father, John Ingersoll, was a Congregationalist minister who was often at odds with his congregation, who would make trivial complaints against him. A church trial which took place while the elder Ingersoll was pastor of the Congregational Church at Madison, Ohio, when Robert was 9, resulted in him being forbidden to preach, though this was later reversed. The unjust treatment of his father is thought to have soured Robert’s opinion of Christianity.

 

Robert_G._Ingersoll_-_Brady-Handy

Original daguerreotype from the Brady studio.


Clara Louise Kellogg

Clara Louise Kellogg
Clara Louise Kellogg was an American opera singer, the first U.S.-born prima donna and the first American singer to achieve success in Europe.
This photo is from the Mathew Brady collection, and dates from sometime during the American Civil War. Kellogg wasn’t directly involved in the war, but gave an account from the point of view of a civilian in New York, in her Memoirs of an American Prima Donna, in 1913.

Portrait
Original B&W photo.


George W. Melville

George_W._Melville
Rear Admiral George Wallace Melville, US Navy, probably in 1904 or shortly before. (See painting below), entered the U.S. Navy in 1861 and became an officer of the Engineer Corps, and took part in the capture of CSS Florida in 1864.

As well as being an engineer, Arctic exploration and author, Melville reformed the Navy, making it more efficient and more professional.

George_W._Melville
Original B&W photo.

Rear-Admiral_George_W._Melville,_G408,_by_Thomas_Eakins
The 1904 painting by Thomas Eakins from which I took the colours.


Frederick Douglass

Frederick_Douglass_portrait

Frederick Douglass, around 1874. Born a slave, he first escaped to the north then, while on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland, he was able to buy his freedom in America, using donations from British supporters. He was also given money for several abolitionist publications back in America. In one, he published a scathing letter to his former owner, Thomas Auld. A few years after this photo was taken, in 1877, Douglass visited Thomas Auld on his deathbed, and the two men were reconciled.

As important as he was in the story of the abolition of slavery, he was also a staunch campaigner for women’s rights.

WAR AND CONFLICT BOOK ERA:  CIVIL WAR/BACKGROUND: SLAVERY & ABOLITIONISM
Copy of the original daguerreotype.


Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson, the first American president to be impeached, though he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.

Andrew Johnson

Original B&W photo.


Ambrose Burnside

Ambrose_Burnside_
Ambrose Burnside, seen here around 1880, was, by his own frequent admission, an indifferent military commander, at best, and his successes in the American Civil War were matched by his defeats.
His main legacy is the name given to the spectacular whiskers he sported, burnsides, at first, then sideburns. The syllables were transposed, it is sometimes claimed, as a reference to his tactical ineptitude, as he supposedly didn’t know which way he was supposed to send his troops, but it is more likely that his name had been largely forgotten, and the word just evolved to make some kind of sense, as the “side” part clearly referred to the position of the whiskers on the head, especially when fashions changed and the moustache was dispensed with. The word evolved further, becoming sideboard, with “board” simply meaning “border” or “edge”.

Ambrose_Burnside_
Original B&W photo.

 


Cassius Marcellus Clay

Honorable-Cassius Clay
Not the boxer, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, who became Muhammad Ali upon his conversion to Islam, nor his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr, but the Kentucky state representative who fought for the abolition of slavery, often at the risk of his life, and despite coming from a family of slave-owners.

Honorable-Cassius Clay

Original B&W photo.

 


Dr. Mary E. Walker

Mary Walker
Mary Edwards Walker was the first female surgeon ever employed by the U.S. Army Surgeon.  and the only woman, so far, ever to receive the Medal of Honor. This photo from 1865 was taken at the presentation of that medal.

Mary Walker
Original B&W photo.


Mathew B. Brady

Mathew_Brady_circa_1875
Often cited as “the father of photojournalism”, Mathew Brady took many of the photographs that exist of the American Civil War and, through his paid assistants, was responsible for many more. He began his career as a painter, then a portrait photographer. After the war he returned to portraits, as with this one of himself, taken around 1875, but he never recovered his wartime success, and died penniless in 1896.

Mathew_Brady_circa_1875
Original B&W photo.


John Brown

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John Brown, the abolitionist who, some people think, sparked the American Civil War, here in 1856.

John_Brown_daguerreotype_c1856
Original daguerreotype.


Robert E. Lee & Son

Robert E Lee and son
General Robert E. Lee (centre) with his son, Major General George Washington Custis Lee (left), and his aide-de-camp, Colonel Walter Taylor, on the back porch of the Lee home at Richmond, Virginia, April 1865

Robert E Lee and son
Original B&W photo.


USS Monitor

Monitor3
The USS Monitor, after her fight with the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) on 9 March 1862.
When I put this picture on Facebook, John Winner kindly supplied more information:

View on deck looking forward on the starboard side, while the ship was in the James River, Virginia, 9 July 1862. The turret, with the muzzle of one of Monitor’s two XI-inch Dahlgren smoothbore guns showing, is at left. Note crewmembers atop the turret, and dents in turret armor from hits by Confederate heavy guns.
Dents from the battle with the CSS Virginia are visible. Officers at right are (left to right): Third Assistant Engineer Robinson W. Hands, Acting Master Louis N. Stodder, Second Assistant Engineer Albert B. Campbell (seated) and Acting Volunteer Lieutenant William Flye (with binoculars).

Monitor
Original B&W photo.


George Armstrong Custer

General-George-Custer-c1862
George Armstrong Custer, sometime during the Civil War, wearing his temporary (brevet) Major General uniform. He reverted to Captain for a time after the war, before rising again in rank.

General-George-Custer-c1862
Original B&W photo.


General Joseph Reid Anderson

General_Joseph_Reid_Anderson
General Joseph Reid Anderson, whose Tredegar Iron Company was at the industrial heart of the Confederate States of America.
Anderson resigned his army commission on July 19, 1862, so this photo was almost certainly taken before then, unless he donned it again just for the portrait.

General_Joseph_Reid_Anderson
Original B&W photo.