CONFEDERATE RECRUIT WITH BATTLE SHIRT, BOWIE, AND PATRIOTIC NECKTIE

$1,500.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1138-2011

This sixth plate ambrotype is housed in a pristine thermoplastic case with raised floral designs and crisply portrays a young, new soldier wearing a forage cap with rain cover, an open “battle shirt” with two large breast pockets, a narrow bowtie with red and white striped ends, and clutches a sheathed clip point bowie knife in one hand. It is obvious neither his wardrobe or weapon have seen any service yet. We would describe him as clean-shaven, but he has probably never handled a razor.

The clarity and detail are excellent. The soldier looks fairly happy to be going off to war. The photographer has thinly tinted his cheeks and lips red, as he has done to the ends of the young man’s narrow tie. This seems to reflect what the young man was actually wearing. The photographer has carefully shown the colored end fully on the right, and partly concealed on the left. It shows three red and two white stripes and what seems to be a red canton though there appear to be one two traces of blue. In any case, it is clearly meant to represent a flag, likely a version of the CS First National, before the number of stars and stripes became more or less fixed. The tie is fastened around the white standing collar of his shirt, over which he has donned a loose fitting “battle shirt,” left unbuttoned on the breast and tucked into his trousers. A photographer’s curtain shows at the right and he rests one elbow on a covered table beside him.

The loose battle shirt has a definitely southern flavor, as does the fact that he very casually holds a clip-point Bowie knife in one hand, his hand covering the guard, but with the upper two pins holding the grip slabs showing, as well at the scabbard, which shows (probably gilt) blindstamped borders a central motto or motif.

This comes from the collection of the late Bill Turner and is a wonderful example of the youthful volunteers of 1861 on both sides. Most had never been far from home and the chance to go off to war was a big adventure: the realities of warfare were beyond their ability to imagine, however much they tried to appear the soldier or warrior for the camera.  [sr] [ph:m]

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