PRE-WAR VIRGINIA MILITIA OFFICER

$3,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1138-1901

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This sixth-plate ambrotype is from the collection of the late Bill Turner and was marked by him as a Virginia militia officer, an identification with which we agree. The state’s 1858 regulations permitted existing volunteer organizations to retain distinctive uniforms, but tried to institute a state uniform following the U.S. regulations. Those who complied seem to have been mainly officers. (In 1860 militia companies were again officially authorized to choose their own uniforms.)

This officer appears in full dress uniform with 1858 pattern dress hat and epaulets.  He carries an eagle-pommel U.S. militia officer’s sword with metal scabbard (likely gilt brass) and wears an interlocking two-piece buckle on his sword belt rather than the U.S. regulation 1851 pattern. The infantry bugle on his hat seems to be stamped brass rather than bullion embroidered, something also supporting his militia status. He has turned up one side of his hat, following regulations and has fixed a black plume on one side. The single–breasted coat and the width of the bullion fringe on his epaulets all point to him being a lieutenant or captain. The photographer lightly tinted some of the metallic elements in the photo, so the detail of the plate and buttons is hard to make out, but the buttons might be Virginia, as per state regulations. The infantry bugle shows up on Virginia officers’ headgear of the period along with a VA in wreath. As fashion statement, his chin beard also supports an 1858-1861 date for the image.

The image is crisp and extraordinarily clear. It is housed in a thermoplastic case with floral motifs and is glassed, matted and framed. It would make a great addition to a Virginia Civil War collection. [sr] [ph:m]

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