22nd NEW YORK STATE MILITIA AT HARPERS FERRY 1862 WITH ENFIELD SHORT RIFLES, EQUIPMENT AND GEAR, TENTS, A LOT GOING ON!

$1,500.00

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Item Code: 2021-796

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This is from a wonderful series of photos taken on the heights above Harpers Ferry in 1862 by a camera crew likely employed by Brady. Like many in the series this is carefully composed, rich in detail, and repays study. The subjects are members of the 22nd NY State Militia, formed in April 1861, and nicknamed the Union Grays from their adoption of a gray uniform, and also the “Strawberry Grays” from their use of red trim. They were well funded by NY City businesses and banks, importing their own Enfield short rifles with sword bayonets. They were mobilized May 28, 1862, in response to Jackson’s activity in the Valley, sent to Baltimore and then on to Harpers Ferry, where they served until August 31, narrowly avoiding the capture of the garrison a short time later.

The image offered here is a sixth-plate ambrotype, now housed in a nice figural thermoplastic case, with mat, frame, glass, and facing pad. Two soldiers are casually posed in front of their tent. Both wear standard blue fatigue blouses, adopted by the regiment to avoid confusion with Confederates. A corporal loll against the tent pole at left, wearing a knit camp hat, holding a pipe or cigar in one hand and newspaper down at his side with the other. A private is seated at right on a camp stool in counterpoint to the corporal and fully equipped with loaded knapsack, blanket roll, but looking fairly cheerful for all the load. A stack of rifles with sword bayonets fixed and hung with cartridge boxes showing their openwork box plates and slings is given prominent position at center. In the background a regulation blanket is draped across the tent to air or dry, as are blankets or garments to the right. A fully packed knapsack seems to lie on the ground at left, with its blanket roll strapped on top facing the camera to remind the viewer that the soldier basically carries his house with him on the march.

The photograph is stable, but has a crack at upper left and some flakes to the emulsion at right. Nevertheless, there is a lot going on the image, which is one of those that keeps drawing you back in to look at the detail.  [sr] [ph:m]

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