SEATED VIEW OF MAJOR GENERAL ALFRED TORBERT – BY BRADY

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Item Code: 160-398

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Image is of Torbert from the waist-up. He wears a dark double-breasted frock coat with black felt collar and cuffs and major-general’s shoulder straps.

Contrast and clarity are excellent as are the mount and paper. Bottom center of mount has a period ink ID “MAJ. GEN. A.T.A. TORBERT.”

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for E. & H. T. ANTHONY FROM A BRADY NEGATIVE. Bottom has period pencil notation “ASSIGNED COMMAND OF 1ST N.J. BRIGADE AUGUST 1862 TO APRIL 1864.” Top has inscription in modern ink “COMMAND OF 1ST N.J. BRIGADE AT GETTYSBURG, 6TH CORPS - SEDGWICK, 1ST DIVISION – WRIGHT, 1ST BRIGADE – TORBERT.” Reverse also bears a stamped number “1542.”

Alfred Thomas Archimedes Torbert was born in Georgetown, Delaware on July 1, 1833. He graduated 21st in a class of 34 from the United States Military Academy in 1855 and was commissioned a Brevet 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Infantry Regiment. Just before the start of the Civil War, Torbert was appointed a 1st Lieutenant in the Confederate States Army on March 16, 1861, but he refused the appointment and remained a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. By September 16, he was appointed Colonel of the 1st New Jersey Infantry and, by August 29, 1862, he was a brigade commander in the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac. During the Antietam Campaign he was wounded at Crampton's Gap on South Mountain. He was promoted to Brigadier General on November 29, 1862 and commanded his New Jersey Brigade in the campaigns of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg.

On April 10, 1864, following the death of Maj. Gen. John Buford, Torbert was given command the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac. Torbert commanded during the Overland Campaign, except when he fell ill following the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse. During Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan's Valley Campaigns of 1864, Torbert commanded the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Shenandoah and was promoted to Brevet Major General on September 9, 1864. Sheridan was unhappy with the performance of the cavalry at the time of the Battle of Fisher's Hill. He is said to have told Torbert to go out and "whip or be whipped." The result was a defeat for the Confederate cavalry in the Battle of Tom's Brook.

Torbert commanded the Army of the Shenandoah from April 22 to June 27, 1865. Merritt commanded Torbert's former corps under Sheridan in the last campaigns of the Civil War in Virginia. Torbert received brevet promotions in the regular army for his service at Gettysburg, Haw's Shop, Third Winchester, and Cedar Creek.

After the war, Torbert served in a number of diplomatic posts: as U.S. Consul to El Salvador in 1869, U.S. Consul General in Havana in 1871, and U.S. Consul General in Paris in 1873.

Alfred Torbert drowned off Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the sinking of the S.S. Vera Cruz on August 29, 1880. Eyewitness accounts claimed he swam for over 20 hours. He died on the shore shortly thereafter. His body was recovered August 31, 1880, and he is buried in the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery, Milford, Delaware.  [ad] [ph:L]

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