BUST VIEW OF MAJOR GENERAL NATHANIEL BANKS BY BRADY

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Item Code: 855-33

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Image is a nice clear bust view CDV of Banks wearing a double-breasted frock coat with black velvet collar and Major General’s brush epaulettes.

Image is a vignette and the contrast is a bit light around the edges. There is some moderate staining above the General’s head and the bottom corners of the mount are clipped. Mount marked “BRADY” and “WASHINTON” at bottom with “BANKS” in period ink at center.

Reverse has “CEDAR MT” in period pencil.

Nathaniel Prentice Banks was born January 30, 1816 in Waltham, Massachusetts.

A millworker by background, Banks was prominent in local debating societies, and his oratorical skills were noted by the Democratic Party. But his abolitionist views fitted him better for the nascent Republican Party, through which he became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and Governor of Massachusetts.

At the outbreak of the war, President Lincoln appointed Banks as one of the first 'political' Major Generals, over the heads of West Point regulars, who initially resented him, but came to acknowledge his influence on the administration of the war. After suffering an inglorious defeat in the Shenandoah Valley at the hands of the newly famous Stonewall Jackson, Banks replaced Benjamin Butler at New Orleans as commander of the Department of the Gulf, charged with liberating the Mississippi. But he failed to reinforce Grant at Vicksburg, and only took the surrender of Port Hudson after Vicksburg had fallen. He was then put in charge of the Red River campaign, a doomed attempt to occupy eastern Texas. Banks had no faith in this strategy and was removed from command.

After the war, Banks returned to the Massachusetts political scene, where he influenced the Alaska Purchase legislation and supported women's suffrage. He died in Waltham on September 1, 1894 and is buried in Grove Hill Cemetery there.

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