WONDERFUL PAIRED AMBROTYPE AND TINTYPE OF JAMES MARCELLUS SMITH, DRUMMER COMPANY K 14th NEW HAMPSHIRE: CAMP AND FIELD!

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Item Code: 2021-810

This cased pair of images shows a young and rather feminine looking James Marcellus Smith in a 6th plate ambrotype on the right, wearing his musician’s frock coat and posed as if playing his drum. He has buckled the drum around his waist with a leather drum sling and one can see the insignia on the top of his cap, which is angled and thus slightly blurred, but clearly the same cap and insignia he holds on his knee in the left image, a 6th plate tintype, where the top of the cap plainly shows a K over a bugle with a 14 in the loop and NHV (now hidden by the mat) at its lower edge.

In the left image he is seated and outfitted for a march with a packed knapsack and blanket roll on top strapped to his shoulders. He wears his drum sling around his neck this time and has decided to improve his warlike appearance by shoving one revolver into his belt and holding another, a Smith and Wesson Number 2, somewhat awkwardly pointing up for the camera. The photographer has lightly tinted his cheeks red and gilded his buttons and belt plate, the latter apparently a non-regulation interlocking two-piece plate.

Smith was a born March 21, 1845 at Sandwich, NH, and was living on his parents’ farm with seven brothers and sisters when he enlisted at age 17 on 8/14/62 and mustered into Co. K of the 14th New Hampshire as a musician on 9/24/62. (He was young, but not the youngest of the regiment- a member of Co. F was only fifteen.) He served through the entire war, being discharged 6/9/65. After the war he moved to Haverhill, Mass., where he was engaged in shoe manufacture, we assume as a factory worker, and was a member of GAR Post 47 (Major Howe Post.) He married twice, first in 1877 which resulted in the birth of a daughter, and again in 1898, by which time he was working as a police officer. He was predeceased by his daughter, died 12/6/1918, and was buried in Newburyport.

The 14th organized in August 1862, and mustered in September, but was apparently not taken into U.S service until mid-October. They served initially in Grover’s brigade, guarding the Potomac above Washington and then in the city itself as part of the 22nd Corps from April 1863 to February 1864. After brief service at Harpers Ferry and a furlough home, they shipped out for New Orleans in March 1864. There the regiment joined the 19th Corps, serving in the Army and Department of the Gulf, and then moving north to join the Army of the James and the Army of the Shenandoah, with whom it saw action at Opequon (Third Winchester,) Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek, Deep Bottom, Halltown, Berryville, Lock's Ford, Tom's Brook, and Strasburg, losing 8 officers and 63 enlisted men killed in battle or mortally wounded during its service, which included the loss in killed, wounded and missing of almost one third of the regiment on the field at Opequon and fighting on both sides of its breastworks at Cedar Creek, where it formed the rallying point for its brigade.

This is a wonderful pair of photos of a Union drummer with a good service record. They are housed in a thermoplastic figural case with mats, glass, and frames in place. The tintype is a tad dark, but the details are clearly visible and it makes a great pairing that shows the young Smith ready for duty in camp and armed and equipped for service in the field.  [sr] [ph:M]

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