CONFEDERATE VOLUNTEER WITH SLOUCH HAT AND IMPORT ENGLISH ARMY SHIRT

$1,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1138-1957

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Call 717-334-0347,
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This sixth-plate tintype is from the collection of Bill Turner and shows a young, mustached Confederate, posed sitting with his slouch hat on the table beside him, wearing an imported British army “ammunition” shirt, and with a small Smith and Wesson .22 caliber revolver held up against his chest for the photographer.

The low-collared striped shirt could easily be taken for something out of the 1880s, but is in fact the standard British army blue and white striped cotton shirt that was phased out starting late in the Crimean War in favor of gray cotton or flannel shirt and was available in quantity as surplus and from the same contractors and manufacturers. Called an “ammunition shirt,” i.e., a standard issue shirt from army supplies, in some records, the same pattern seems to have been used for convicts sentenced to deportation. These were apparently updated slightly by having the collars lowered to match the lower, banded collar of the new army pattern and imported in the thousands by the south. They were so useful for civilian wear after the war that few survive, but a perfect match for the shirt shown here is in the Museum of the Confederacy, worn by a Confederate artillery officer and still bearing its 1859 British army contract markings. (See the English Connection and Barry and Burt.) They are also scarce in photographs since most photographers and sitters wanted a more formal appearance than mere shirtsleeves and a new soldier would want to show off a recognizable uniform to the folks back home.

The slouch hat on the table shows a small side button. Not much detail can be made out, but it confirms his military identification. His trousers a likely light blue or gray and are kept up by a pair of suspenders visible to the camera, and he wears a ring on the small finger of his right hand. As if his pose was not casual enough already, he has thrust his other hand into a trouser pocket.

The image is matted, glassed, and framed, and is held in half a leatherette photographic case. This is a great casual, unpretentious pose and the photographer apparently felt he needed to increase his subject’s martial bearing by loaning him a small pocket pistol for the occasion. Coming from Bill Turner’s collection, the soldier is most likely a Virginia volunteer. The content is not immediately striking, but to the serious Confederate uniform collector is quite rare. [sr] [ph:m]

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