CONFEDERATE GENERAL LUNSFORD LINDSAY LOMAX AS A U.S. CAVALRY SECOND LIEUTENANT

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Formerly in the collection of Virginia collector and dealer Bill Turner this sixth plate ambrotype shows Confederate General Lunsford Lindsay Lomax as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, sometime between 1856 and 1861. Lomax was born in Rhode Island in 1835, the son of Mann Page Lomax, a U.S. Army officer and member of one of Virginia’s “First Families.” Appointed to West Point “at large,” he entered the academy 1 July 1852 and graduated in 1856, becoming a brevet 2nd lieutenant in in the newly formed Second Cavalry 1 July 1856 and full 2nd Lieutenant in the, also newly organized, 1st Cavalry on Sept. 30. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant 21 March 1861, but resigned his commission to go south on April 25.

He was appointed from Virginia to the C.S, Cavalry as 1st Lieutenant in May 1861, with rank from March 11. There is some thought he may have served for a time on Johnston’s staff, but in August 1861 he was ordered to Arkansas, where he served on McCulloch’s staff as Adjutant General, apparently ranking as Captain. After McCulloch’s death in March 1862, he served on Van Dorn’s staff as Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General making Lt. Colonel in April, with a brief stint as Ordnance Officer on Hebert’s brigade staff. In March 1863 was transferred back east to be colonel of the 11th Virginia Cavalry, seeing action at Gettysburg and being promoted to brigadier general in Fitz Lee’s division as of July 23. He was active in the fighting against Grant in the Virginia campaign of 1864 and in August was promoted to Major General and served under Early in the Valley, commanding the Valley District at the end of the war.

One of his largest contributions to the southern war effort, however, was behind the scenes. Mosby credited him with the improvement of Confederate scouting and intelligence work in Valley and in Loudon County through the organization, training and use of partisan rangers, supplying needed expertise in such gentle arts as tapping telegraph wires and destroying trains.

After the destruction of Early’s forces in the Shenandoah Lomax saw further service with Johnston, with whom he surrendered in North Carolina. After the war he turned to farming in Virginia, but also served as President of the VA Agricultural and Mechanical College, helped assemble and edit the Official Records of the war, and served as a commissioner of the Gettysburg battlefield park before his death in 1913.

The image is housed in a patriotic thermoplastic showing an American eagle atop a U.S. shield, in front of a mortar and below a large U.S. flag on a pole, with a star of stars at top. The case has a hairline crack on the front and a shorter crack on the inside upper corner of the lid. The facing pad, glass, mat and frame are in place. The mat bears is marked by Whitehurst, one of the very early southern photographers who expanded his operation into a chain of photographic studios in various states throughout the 1850s. The image has some small spotting, but only one or two touch Lomax’s face, which is remarkably clear. He wears an officer’s frock coat, unbuttoned, with the collar turned down slightly. His straps have the plain ground of a second lieutenant and the slightly dark tone produced by yellow in the photographs of the time. The photographer lightly gilded the border of the straps and his buttons, which has oxidized slightly on the latter. There is a rub at upper right, not affecting the figure, and a bit of solarization along the right edge.

Lomax is a very interesting figure with very active service in the western and eastern theatres of the war.   [sr] [ph:m]

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