A BLACK VETERAN OF THE U.S.C.T. WEARS HIS OLD ARMY COAT

$1,250.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1138-2037

This sixth plate tintype is housed in a leatherette case with mat, glass, frame, and facing pad in place. The subject is black man clearly wearing a U.S. enlisted man’s frock coat with the collar down and the lapels turned back. The tones of the clothing are light, making the coat appear more gray, but it shows the pointed cuff piping of the regulation dress coat and buttonholes spaced in conformity with the standard nine-button front of these issue uniforms.

He is posed in a three-quarter length seated view from the knees up, resting one elbow against a table to his side and with his hands clasped in his lap against a plain background. He wears a mustache and small chin beard, and the photographer has lightly tinted his cheeks red. The military coat is in contrast to a white civilian shirt with separate collar or tie and a partially buttoned vest. He shows something of a calm confidence and it seems likely he has carried over wear of his military coat into civilian life, by necessity or as a badge of honor, though we are aware that in postwar years some military clothing made its way into the Freedman’s Bureau.

The clarity is excellent. You can even see the veins in his hand. He is very likely one of the more than 170,000 men who served in the U.S. Colored Troops and suffered a high casualty rate by wounds, sickness, and disease. The regiments formally began recruiting after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in January 1863, though some local or regional units had been organized earlier. The image likely dates to 1865 or shortly after and connects strongly with the Black wartime and postwar experience.

This comes from the collection of the late Bill Turner, noted Virginia collector and dealer.  [sr] [ph:m]

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