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Old January 27, 2013, 04:41 PM   #1
10851Man
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Civil War Then & Now:

Love Civil War History and have been looking at all the 'then & now' images online. I recall a photo of an unknown solider, wearing red pants, that was recently identified.

I wonder if this solider was ever identified:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/cwpcam/cw00171.jpg

I have often wondered the same thing about the newsreel footage of the U.S. soldier that dropped during the invasion of Normandy...

Last edited by 10851Man; January 30, 2013 at 04:03 PM.
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Old January 27, 2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Don't think so. Confederate sharpshooter at Devils Den, Gettysburg Pa. IIRC it was surmised the Springfield wasn't his but was a prop the photographer scrounged. It is thought he was actually using a Whitworth. All battlefield pics were staged by the photographers.
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Old January 27, 2013, 07:06 PM   #3
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IIRC he was a rebel sharpshooter in Devil's Den who was finally killed by Union cannon fire. I also recall that the scene was "rearranged". Not sure if it is a Matthew Brady photo.
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Old January 27, 2013, 07:19 PM   #4
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Its an Alexander Gardner photograph.
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Old January 27, 2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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RE: Devil's Den Photo

There is another photo of the same soldier down in the Valley of Death there. This poor soul was dragged around and used as a prop. Alot of the pics taken right after battles were staged for effect. The National Park Service at Gettysburg and numerous experts have debunked that this is where this man fell. See here: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/cwpcam/cwcam3c.html
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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I looked at the photo in detail and I do not see the head wound mentioned in your link...



In the larger photo, you can see the cap next to his head, which looks blue to me. It also appears he is lying on a blanket, which was probably used to drag the body. The fact that his pants are unbuttoned seems to me to suggest he was wounded in the lower belly and was likely looking for the wound, which I have seen often in these old images.

There is also something in the foreground, that looks to me like a piece of broken rifle stock..

Anyone see this???
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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How the scene appears today...

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Old January 30, 2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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n October 1864 Isaac Moorhead of Erie, Pennsylvania, toured the field with John Frey, one such local guide. Moorhead wrote of his visit:

"As we approached Round Top it was at once evident that it was the key of the whole position-that point lost and all was lost. Driving our carriage down the rocky lane that leads from the turnpike to Round Top, we soon reached the base. Dismounting among the rocks, we saw some bones of a rebel, with shreds of his "butternut" clothing. We passed through the woods filled with rocks, and ascended the Round Top. The summit is clear of trees, but they are scattered on the sides. On a large rock near the summit is chiseled the inscription; "Col. Strong Vincent fell here com'g 3rd, Brig. lst div. 5th corps, July 2d, 1863.' Standing on the rock and looking down into the valley, Mr. Frey called my attention to the 'Devil's Den," which consisted of two immense rocks standing up side by side, with a small but convenient opening between them. Across the top was another immense rock. The opening was in such a position that neither shot nor shell, although freely thrown at the rebel sharp-shooter occupying this place, could reach him. The story goes (and I deem it an exceedingly plausible one, and Mr. Frey says he does not doubt it), that Col. Vincent was hit by this sharp-shooter in the "Devil's Den.' After repeated efforts to dislodge him, two of Berdan's sharpshooters were called up and the locality of the fellow pointed out to them. One of them slipped down to the friendly cover of a large Whitewood tree, to the right of the Vincent rock, and flanking the opening of the "Devil's Den." Here waiting until the rebel reloaded his gun, and coming cautiously to the end of the rock, he took deliberate aim and sent the rebel to his long home. This [Berdan] sharp-shooter has been at Gettysburg since the battle, and went with Mr. Frey to all these localities. The rebels grave is just at the mouth of the den, and his boots I saw lying just within the den. ... Passing down to the vast rocks, scattered about in the valley at the foot of the mountain, which afforded such excellent lurking spots for the enemy's sharp-shooters, we were told by our guide that many wounded rebels had crawled under these rocks for safety. After the battle heavy rains set in and drowned many of them, and the current of water brought them to view. Others there were undiscovered until the flesh had fallen from their bones. Here, in a secluded spot among the rocks, I found the bones of a rebel just as he had fallen. Picking up one of his shoes to remove the string, to tie together some little trees, the bones of his foot tumbled out. It was a "Georgia state shoe" made from canvas, with leather tips and heel stiffeners. From among his ribs I picked up a battered minie ball which doubtless caused his death. Moving aside a flat stone, Mr. Frey showed us the grinning face and skull of a rebel. Some of them in this rocky part of the field have very shallow graves...."
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Old January 30, 2013, 04:16 PM   #9
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In 1899, an article appeared in the Gettysburg Compiler, giving an eyewitness account of the battle by Augustus P. Martin, commander of the Union Fifth Corps Artillery at Gettysburg. The article was actually an interview with Martin written by battlefield guide Luther Minnigh. It is impossible to say how much influence Minnigh had on Martin's account, but the story sounds strangely familiar.

"Among the interesting incidents that occurred on Little Round Top was the summary way in which a sharpshooter was disposed of in rear of the Devil's Den. He had concealed himself behind a stone wall between two boulders and for a long time we were annoyed by shots from that direction, one of which actually combed my hair over my left ear and passed through the shoulder of a man a little taller than myself who was standing behind me for a cover. At last we were able to locate the spot, by the use of a field glass, from whence the shots came by little puffs of smoke that preceded the whizzing of the bullets that passed our heads. We then loaded one of our guns with a percussion shell, taking careful and accurate aim. When the shot was fired the shell struck and exploded on the face of one of the boulders. We supposed the shot had frightened him away, as we were no longer troubled with shots from that location. When the battle was ended we rode over to the Devil's Den and found behind the wall a dead Confederate soldier lying upon his back and, so far as we could see, did not have a mark upon his body, and from that fact became convinced that he was killed by the concussion of the shell when it exploded on the face of the boulder...."
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:10 PM   #10
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I suppose the head wound could be on the other side or the back and there does appear to be part of a rifle stock with the trigger guard. I don't see how you can determine the color of the kepi with a black and white pic tho. Even if it was Confederate soldiers were always liberating articles of clothing from dead Union soldiers.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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I'm just analyzing everything I can. The kepi just looked lighter than the coat to my eye...

I saw no blood on his hand either...

Could that be a rifle destroyed by canon fire???

Looks like bandages or wadding around his upper body in the foreground...
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:27 PM   #12
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I don't see bandages and the rifle could have been destroyed by cannon fire but that wouldn't necessarily make it his. If it had been his body would be torn up if indeed he was the sniper which seems highly unlikely at this point. It has long been said the Springfield was a prop put there by the photographer.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:41 PM   #13
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Was this an actual casualty? Not to belittle his fate,but dragging a corpse around for photgraphic purposes seems a little tasteless to me, plus that battle was fought in high summer. I have seen photos of men of the Iron Brigade lined up for burial, they were already bloated after 3 days.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:46 PM   #14
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Almost all CW pics were staged. Its just the way things were done back then. There's a pic of a guy at Cold Harbor IIRC that was blown apart by cannon fire and they laid the pieces together next to a rifle.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:54 PM   #15
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I have this image greatly enlarged. I see what looks like shot or a musketball, the white cloth or bandages, the cartridge box, part of a broken rifle and a few other odds and ends you can only see through enlargement.
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Old January 30, 2013, 06:02 PM   #16
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I have it enlarged but I don't see bandages or a ball.
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Old January 30, 2013, 06:13 PM   #17
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I will mark all the little things I see and then post it later. I also see quite a distinct pock mark in on of the rocks...

I see what looks like a bullet hole in one of his pants legs too...

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Old January 31, 2013, 06:13 PM   #18
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Have any of you guys looked closely at the white cloth shreds near his upper body????

I just find the little details amazing, even if he was dragged up here on a blanket....
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Old January 31, 2013, 06:25 PM   #19
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Looks like his pants are full of holes at the knees which isn't surprising. I think your "bandages" are just white rocks.
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Old January 31, 2013, 06:56 PM   #20
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They are definitely strips of cloth.....
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:22 PM   #21
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If you say so, not gonna argue over it.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:51 PM   #22
4V50 Gary
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I don't think the Georgians fought at Devil's Den.

It was a Texas regiment and the 3rd Arkansas who were there.
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Old February 1, 2013, 12:02 AM   #23
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Red Pant's...Louisiana Zouave Sniper..or? Hats (Wool caps) were like voyager hats and red pants.
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Old February 1, 2013, 12:23 AM   #24
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Red pants were worn by some zouaves. Their uniforms were based on the Algerians zouaves. The French originally recruited them and eventually had all French zouave units attired like their Algerian counterparts. Zouaves weren't necessarily trained in marksmanship (most Civil War soldiers weren't given marksmanship instruction).
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Old February 1, 2013, 11:27 AM   #25
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No argument my friend, just trying to describe what I see under heavy magnification....
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