American Civil War/The Boys' War: Unidentified Images

Figure 1.-- Unfortunarely all we know for sure about this Daguerreotype is that it came from a family living in South Berwick, Maine. We have no idea who the boy seen here (FIGURE 1)was. It is clearly a Civil War-era portrait, but we do not know if the portrait was definitely taken during the War or if the boy was in the Federal Army.

We have found a range of Civil War-era photographs of boys. They are, however, unidentified images without any provinance. We are thus unsure just how to assess them, either the date or just who is represented in the photographs. Hopefully HBC readers may have some insights to offer here.

Unidentified Maine Daguerreotype

We can see a young boy with a long gun, perhaps a musket, almost as tall as he is. We would guess that the portrait was taken in the very early 1860s. We say that because the portrait is a Faguerreotype or perhaps an ambrotype. These were formsts common in the 1850s, but rapidly replace bgiining in 1862 when CDVs appeared. The case mount wih flags ad cannon certainly suggests the Civil War. This is why ee think it was taken in the early 60s rasther ghan the 1850s. We have no idea who the boy was, other than hr was from Maine and about 12 years old. Nor are we sure thst he has enlisted.He would not have been accepted as a infantryman, but it is possible that he could have been excepted as a musician. If he was, having his portrait taken with a gin was a bt of boyish bravado. He wears a plausible military uiform. Berwick had an academy founded in 1791, the oldest educational institution in the state. It was not a military academy as far as I can mzkeout, but the boy my have well be a student at the school. Note the decoration on his jacket. We have no idea what that was for. (Could it be a graduation ribbon. We seen graduation ribbons being worn, for example, at an Indianapolis School.) There were 192 men from South Berwick who enlisted (1861).


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Created: April 20, 1998
Last updated: 3:48 PM 10/20/2006