CRYSTAL CLEAR ARMED NEW YORKER WITH BADGE: POSSIBLY 13th NYV ON PROVOST GUARD DUTY

$550.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 427-38

This is great armed image of a New York soldier cased with an earlier civilian image of an older man with a resemblance, most likely the soldier’s father. Both are 6th plate tintypes with wonderful clarity and are matted, glassed, framed and cased in very nice thermoplastic case with a geometric pattern and floral accents.

The soldier is shown from the knees up in a studio shot with a great painted backdrop showing a military camp in the lower background and wonderful, large U.S. flag at right billowing out from a tall flagpole. The photographer has very delicately tinted the flag, the soldier’s cheeks and blue piping on his eight-button NY Volunteer jacket. He lightly touched the buttons, but they clearly show the edges of the NY state buttons used on these jackets. The soldier has turned his belt over to compensate for the reversal of the tintype process and orient his bayonet and cap box properly for the viewer. The photographer had the good sense and taste not to try to correct or disguise with gold paint the resulting upside down U.S belt plate.

Our man holds one hand on his hip and looks directly into the lens with an unmistakable no-nonsense look of authority. He has tucked a pistol in his belt, perhaps borrowed for the shot, but also wears a large, prominent shield pinned to his chest. We have seen soldiers displaying the badges of fire departments they belonged to before the war as testimony to their willingness to brave danger, but is more likely that we are here looking at a provost guard badge. The combination of the New York jacket with a brass hilted saber bayonet strongly suggests we are looking at member of the 13th New York, who were so armed and were, “detailed on special guard duty at the aqueduct and ferries opposite Georgetown” from October 1, 1862, to about March 8, 1862, according to a regimental history.

We show an image from the Library of Congress of a detail on Mason’s Island in the Potomac examining passes- note the NY jackets and rifles with saber bayonets.  This is supported by an image sold recently on a dealer website of an officer in the 13th NY wearing a badge on his chest appearing to be a flat open circle with two short ribbons, a device that shows up occasionally in the form of a metallic badge engraved with a soldier’s name on provost guard duty. As with this soldier’s insignia, it was likely privately purchased and one of several insignia associated with provost guard duty either with the army in the field or in a city. We also note that Companies H and K of the regiment, recruited for three years’ service in October 1862 were assigned to Provost Guard duty in May 1863, before being transferred to the 140th NY in late June after the rest of the regiment, mustered for two years’ service, had been discharged.

The 13th New York, also known as the Rochester Regiment, was organized in May 1861 and fought at Blackburn’s Ford and First Bull Run, losing 58 men. Initially recruited as a three-month unit, the regiment ultimately fell under New York’s determination only to take two-year regiments and was mustered into U.S. service for the remainder of that term in August 1861, much to the dissatisfaction of some. After its guard duty at Washington it served in the Fifth Corps in the Peninsular Campaign, losing 126 men, and took significant casualties at Second Bull Run, losing 41 killed or mortally wounded and another 66 wounded, as well as 75 men at Fredericksburg. By the time of its muster out it had lost 85 officers and men killed or mortally wounded, 216 who recovered, and 104 who were missing.

This is a nice pair of images, and the soldier especially is one of those portraits that really shows the subject’s character as well as details of his dress and equipment. [sr] [ph:L]

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