Civil War - Identity of Two Star General in Photo?

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by jon koss, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    I have been trolling the uncharted recesses of my photo collection and dredged up this photo CDV of what appears to be a two star general. I have never been able to identify him. Does anyone have any ideas on his identity or even possible sources of information about same?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jon
     

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  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    This site indicates it is an albumen print in 2 3/8" by 4" format. Also that is would almost have to have been made post-war. Matthew Brady started using this in late 1865. As to the officer's identity, your guess is as good as mine.
     
  4. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Jon,

    If nobody can help you out in the next day or two, I"ll send a link to this thread to a few living history folks I know. Maybe one of them can make an ID.

    Dan
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  6. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    Thanks for the notes, everyone. I went through the LOC site for quite a while but could not find a match. The size is something closer to 4 inches by 5.25 inches - sorry for not including that info. The 627 Penn Ave gallery did not open until 1868, but I am not sure if that necessarily means that the image was captured post-war. The 627 Penn Ave gallery closed around 1880. I am assuming the photo is closer to 1868 since I think CDV's were falling out of favor possibly even before 1870. The vexing thing is that it looks for all the world like a Union general but I have not been able to match it to anyone. There were not that many Major Generals roaming the countryside back in the day!

    Edit: Sorry JNanian - I did not see your post before I posted this one!

    Best,
    Jon
     
  7. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Beck didn't make rank until after 1900 though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2009
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And according to the Arlington site, he died a Brigadier General.

    According to the Wikipedia page on the Confederate Army, a Lt. Colonel used the insignia of two stars--

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_Army

    Did the Brady studio make portraits of Confederate officers?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2009
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    red herring i guess ...

    they guy looked like they could have been the same person !
    i know cabinet cards were made well into the early 1900s of some
    of the civil war veterans ... so maybe it was made later than
    just after the civil war ... i wonder when brady's studio closed down ...

    john
     
  10. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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  11. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    My guess: Major General Ambrose Burnside.
    See: www.old-picture.com .

    From there, Google " Ambrose Burnside ".
     
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  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The site indicates that the Imperial CDV was larger than what you state.
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Absolutely not. Burnside was never a two-star general at that advanced age.
     
  17. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    It does look a bit like Chamberlain; but Chamberlain would have been much younger as a Brigadier General of Volunteers and was mustered out as a Major-General of Volunteers.
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I apologize for thinking a two-star General was a BG; rather than a MG.
    I stand by my opinions, however, that Burnside and Chamberlain were much younger when they achieved that rank. The absence of any other accoutrement makes me wonder if perhaps it is the uniform of a military school, or some such.
     
  19. Galah

    Galah Member

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    How?

    The unidentified guy in the picture is a Major General, WH Beck only made Bigadier General (it says so on his tombstone)
     
  20. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Yes Chamberlain was a young man when first a two star general.
    http://www.civil-war.net/cw_images/files/images/298.jpg
    But these photos are often made at the reunions of the union army.
    Camberlain died in 1914 and this image looks quite elderly; this would not be possible as a real Brady image. Brady's Washington studio closed in 1881, New York in 1875, Putting this image before 1875, but his images were copied by Antony co. and reproduced for many years.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi galah,

    yep, it wasn't him ...
    but if you do advance aging techniques,
    AND flip the image of beck that i linked to
    the person has the same nose, eyes, hair, face and moustache ...


    too bad i can't do a seance at major general george sears greene's gravesite and ask him
    ... he is buried down the road from me ...
     
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  22. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Beck was a Brigadier (one star). Besides, nobody born in 1842 could possibly look like the OP's picture before the turn of the century, if even then.
     
  23. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    "Absolutely"??? You've lost me. Burnside was promoted to Major General on March 18th, 1862... he was 38 years old at that time.
    Was he demoted, or ...?

    As I see it ... (not easy at the present time ... off subject), he retired with the rank of Major General.

    I wonder if a determination of the subject's age would be accurate, given the conditon/ quality of the photograph.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    not to mention
    his burnsides were connected to his moustache
    and the 2 star general in the image just had a moustache
    and small side taps ...
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    he still looks like Beck, even though he's not him :smile:
     
  26. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    Hmmm... after looking at every image of Chamberlain I could find, I must say that the ears, earlobes, nose, cleft chin, eye folds and jowls all point to Chamberlain. Looking at the original in my hand the conclusion seems inescapable. If this was taken just before the Penn Ave studio closed, then he could have been 52 or 53 years old in the photo. Not completely impossible but my gut reaction was that the man in the photo was just a bit older - maybe 55 to 60 years of age. In my original he does not look 'elderly' however. Interestingly, the reason that I missed Chamberlain was that I limited my LOC image search to generals born before 1810, since I was assuming the photo was a wartime image.

    cowanw, can you flesh out the scenario wherein the Brady name is showing on the back of an image actually made by Antony co.? Did Antony publish absolute facsimiles, or would the reprint actually say Antony?

    Thanks everyone for the help. I will sleep a little better now that I feel I have an ID.

    Best, Jon