IMPOSING SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICER WITH CAP INSIGNIA AND CAPED OVERCOAT

$1,950.00

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Item Code: 1138-1809

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This extremely clear 6th plate tintype shows a scarce example of South Carolina hat insignia on the front of his tall kepi. He wears a light color, probably gray, caped overcoat with falling collar and cape buttoned up fully with five small brass buttons the photographer has lightly gilded. The edge of what it likely the skirt of a gray frock coat peeks out at the lower right front. The photographer has lightly tinted the backs of his hands and his cheeks red. He has a neatly trimmed beard, rests one elbow on a table, and looks directly into the camera with an air of command. We have thus given him officer status: no rank insignia shows, but the base of his cap has a lighter colored band, above which are two separately affixed regimental numerals over “SC,” far more likely for an officer than an enlisted man.

We have looked at the insignia carefully under a loop and corrected it digitally to compensate for the tintype’s reversal and feel the numerals are “20” though the photographer lightly gilded them and we cannot discount completely “26.” Despite the lighter colored cap band, either is certainly infantry from the number of SC regiments, but there also is faint hint of blue on the band that may have been applied by the photographer to indicate branch of service though we also see some gold, indicating he may have intended to show it as gold braid.

The 20th SC Infantry organized at Orangeburg in the winter of 1861-1862, drawing from Sumter, Orangeburg, and Calhoun counties. The unit served in the Charleston area attached to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida before moving to Virginia in Spring 1864, joining the brigade commanded by Generals Kershaw, Kennedy, and Conner. The fought at Cold Harbor, in the Shenandoah, and in North Carolina, seeing action at Bentonville, before surrendering April 26.

The 26th SC organized at Charleston in September, 1862, by consolidating the 6th and 9th Battalions South Carolina Infantry. It served in South Carolina and Mississippi where it was in Evans' Brigade and fought at Jackson. It returned to Charleston and was sent to Virginia in Spring 1864, fighting at Petersburg and at Bermuda Hundred. It took significant casualties both in the Petersburg mine explosion and at Sailor’s Creek in the retreat to Appomattox.

This is a strong image of a Confederate officer and was once in the collection of noted Virginia collector and dealer Bill Turner. It is very clear, and is housed in a nice, figural thermoplastic case with floral border and gentleman with raised hat and walking stick at center. It is fully glassed, matted, and framed.  [sr] [ph:L]

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