SIXTH PLATE TINTYPE OF TWO COMRADES IN THE VETERAN RESERVE CORPS (?)

$1,000.00

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Item Code: 1138-1821

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These two comrades are posed with one seated and the other standing next to him with his hand resting on his shoulder. Both wear light-colored jackets trimmed with darker piping, hold dark forage caps, and wear trousers apparently matching the jacket in color. Though possibly Confederate, they are most likely members of the Veteran Reserve Corps. Established in March 1863 as the Invalid Corps, the designation was changed for morale reasons to the V.R.C. in March 1864. It was organized from veterans deemed unfit for field duty, but not entirely disabled, and was intended to furnish troops for rear echelon duties such as provost and hospital guards, details for clerks, hospital attendants, etc., though some of the men did see action again- most notably in the defenses of Washington during Jubal Early’s raid.

A special unform was authorized for the unit, following the general lines of the mounted services jacket, but of sky-blue cloth trimmed in dark blue. Regulation sky-blue trousers and dark blue forage caps completed the uniform, the jacket and trousers of which tend to come across as gray in period photographs. The buttons on the front of their jackets seem to number twelve, which is the common, but not invariable number found on them, and they show the blind button hole on the collar, the collar and cuff trim, and the shoulder straps of the standard VRC jacket. Each man wears a dark, military style vest, and a starched, white collar indicating they may be posted in a major city, or have simply put on their best for the photographer. The seated private at right holds one lapel open a bit to show off a nice watch chain.

The photo is cased in a leatherette case embossed with geometric and floral designs. The facing pad is in place and the plate is matted and framed. The center of the plate has an indentation on the rear that has caused a slight bump in the face of the plate, damaging the emulsion just at the waist and cuff of the standing figure where he rests his hand on his shoulder of his compatriot, who has two tiny flecks on his forehead and cheek. The bump precludes putting glass back on the plate, but seems stable, allowing for the small losses. The rest of the image is very clear and in good condition, showing nicely the uniform detail and faces of the two veterans.

Other examples, and variations, of the uniform can be seen in photographs of VRC troops serving as prison camp guards and in the garrison at Washington just after Lee’s surrender, during the Grand Review, and through the trial of the Lincoln conspirators.    [sr] [ph:L]

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