ARMED AND ID’D CONFEDERATE WITH A LOVE NOTE ON THE REVERSE

$2,950.00

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Item Code: 1139-21

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This Confederate private is shown in gray jacket and gray trousers with a wide dark stripe. He is bareheaded and wears his hair neatly combed and mustache and goatee. He has turned down the collar of his jacket, which shows a breast pocket and seven small brass buttons, lightly gilt by the photographer, and there might be one or two more not caught by the camera. He is seated with his legs crossed and rests one elbow on a table next to him. Against his other shoulder, in a seated version of “attention,” he holds a musket with a button-headed ramrod and fixed bayonet.

The plate has what seems to be a love poem or sentiment and two names scratched on the back, and we take it to be from the soldier to the recipient of the image. The name “Lillie” is repeated as is the name “Phillip.” There is some corrosion making the full text difficult to read, but the words “my heart” and “I love but one” make clear it is short love poem or rhyme, perhaps lamenting unrequited affection. A last name follows the first appearance of “Phillip” that ends clearly in an “ly.” A collector has read it as “Henly” and identified the sitter as Phillip L. Henley, who also shows up in the records as Philip L. Henly. He enlisted in Campbell County, Georgia, 9/25/61 as a private in the Co. F, the “Campbell Sharpshooters,” of the 30th Georgia, serving until discharged for disability on 5/29/62. At discharge he was listed as age 18, born in Wilkes County, a farmer, and suffering from “chronic Hepatitis.” While he was with it, the regiment served in the Department of Georgia and then in the Department of South Carolina and Georgia, and was posted in Savannah. We find him in the 1850 census, living on a farm with his father, six sisters, and a brother, but do find much other information on him, either before or after the war, if he survived.

The image is a sixth plate tintype and is housed in a leatherette case with partially repaired hinge. It shows spotting on the upper part of the plate and solarization in an arc over the figure. The only significant damage is one spot on the subject’s eye on the right. We think some patience and different lighting might bring out more of the inscription and possibly change the identification, but this is a good, early war armed Confederate image in any case and the sentiment seems clearly about “the girl he left behind.”    [sr] [ph:M/L]

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