ca. 1860s, [hand gilt, Civil War-era ambrotype portrait of a young woman proudly wearing a Union sash across her chest]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860s, [hand gilt, Civil War-era ambrotype portrait of a young woman proudly wearing a Union sash across her chest]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1861-65, “The Deserters Fate”, [Civil War-era carte de visite portrait of a Union soldier, killed for desertion, with a firing squad looming behind]

Robert I. Alotta’s Civil War Justice-Union Army Executions under Lincoln (1989), cites 276 military executions during the Civil War, 186 by firing squad and 90 by hanging. Multiple desertion was the leading cause with 147 soldiers formally executed in the name of deterrence.  

via  Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1861-65, “The Deserters Fate”, [Civil War-era carte de visite portrait of a Union soldier, killed for desertion, with a firing squad looming behind]

Robert I. Alotta’s Civil War Justice-Union Army Executions under Lincoln (1989), cites 276 military executions during the Civil War, 186 by firing squad and 90 by hanging. Multiple desertion was the leading cause with 147 soldiers formally executed in the name of deterrence.

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a young Union soldier, possibly a woman, in uniform and tassled hat]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a young Union soldier, possibly a woman, in uniform and tassled hat]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ tintype portrait of a smirking Union infantryman in an open frock coat with a hand-gilt watch and chain at his chest]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ tintype portrait of a smirking Union infantryman in an open frock coat with a hand-gilt watch and chain at his chest]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [albumen portrait of a staff grade Union cavalry officer seated on a saddle mounted on a barrel]
via Cowan’s Auction

ca. 1860’s, [albumen portrait of a staff grade Union cavalry officer seated on a saddle mounted on a barrel]

via Cowan’s Auction

ca. 1861-65, [hand-tinted tintype portrait of a Union soldier in uniform with shoulder scales with pearl-handled revolver and saber in front of backdrop showing trees and two Great Star flags] 
via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [hand-tinted tintype portrait of a Union soldier in uniform with shoulder scales with pearl-handled revolver and saber in front of backdrop showing trees and two Great Star flags]

via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of two Union soldiers playing cards]
via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of two Union soldiers playing cards]

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1870, [tintype portrait of Francis Jefferson Coates]





Coates enlisted on August 29, 1861, and served as a Corporal and Sergeant in the 7th Wisconsin Infantry, Company H. He was wounded at South Mountain (September 14, 1862) and lost both eyes at Gettysburg in 1863. He was awarded the rank of Brevet Captain and the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He was mustered out on September 1, 1864 at the expiration of his term of service.





via the Wisconsin Historical Society, Small Formats Special Storage Lot

ca. 1870, [tintype portrait of Francis Jefferson Coates]

Coates enlisted on August 29, 1861, and served as a Corporal and Sergeant in the 7th Wisconsin Infantry, Company H. He was wounded at South Mountain (September 14, 1862) and lost both eyes at Gettysburg in 1863. He was awarded the rank of Brevet Captain and the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He was mustered out on September 1, 1864 at the expiration of his term of service.

via the Wisconsin Historical Society, Small Formats Special Storage Lot

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of a Union soldier in uniform with a young man whittling]
via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of a Union soldier in uniform with a young man whittling]

via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1860-1880’s, [tintype portrait of a smokey, wooded campsite, possibly a Union or Confederate encampment]
via Ebay

ca. 1860-1880’s, [tintype portrait of a smokey, wooded campsite, possibly a Union or Confederate encampment]

via Ebay

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a Union infantryman with regulation uniform]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a Union infantryman with regulation uniform]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Union solider in uniform]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Union solider in uniform]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [post mortem ambrotype portait of a Union officer in his coffin]
via Cowan’s Auction
It was not until the Civil War when embalming became commonplace in America. With soldiers fighting and dying sometimes hundreds of miles from home, the sanitary and aesthetic issues arising from transporting a body over several days, sometimes weeks on trains, was quickly resolved through a mortician’s hand and embalming procedures.

ca. 1860’s, [post mortem ambrotype portait of a Union officer in his coffin]

via Cowan’s Auction

It was not until the Civil War when embalming became commonplace in America. With soldiers fighting and dying sometimes hundreds of miles from home, the sanitary and aesthetic issues arising from transporting a body over several days, sometimes weeks on trains, was quickly resolved through a mortician’s hand and embalming procedures.

ca. 1861-65, [hand-tinted tintype portrait of a pensive Union soldier in a captain’s uniform, resting his arm on the table]
via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [hand-tinted tintype portrait of a pensive Union soldier in a captain’s uniform, resting his arm on the table]

via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [albumen portrait of wounded soldiers at Fredericksburg], Timothy O’Sullivan
via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photographs Collection

ca. 1861-65, [albumen portrait of wounded soldiers at Fredericksburg], Timothy O’Sullivan

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photographs Collection

"Until the handkerchief of history covers us with its Times New Roman black and white post script..."

This blog is a collection of vernacular photography and ephemera focused mainly within the curious and often misunderstood realm of 19th century America. I have a soft spot for all things silly, antiquated, macabre, and grotesque. The content is from a variety of collections; public, academic, and private. In addition, there's an occasional emphasis on Ulysses S Grant and the Civil War, as well.

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Browse by Photograph Type: Tintypes, Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Carte de visites, Albumen prints, Cabinet cards, Silver prints

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