Book Talk at Lakeville Historical Society

13442358_904271953033248_3066261752311497730_nLast evening I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to the membership of the Lakeville Historical Society in Lakeville, Mass. Hosts Rita and Jim Gouveia made me feel instantly welcome, and everyone else was equally friendly and accommodating. In attendance was state representative Keiko Orral and her son, who is studying history. I discussed African American Faces of the Civil War and realized that with my navy book about to be published this may be one of the last of many times that I deliver this talk.

This visit reminded me of the important role played by the Lakeville Historical Society and other historical and genealogical groups across the country. They are on the front lines of history, gathering local relics and stories and preserving them for future generations. They also help me, for when I am researching men and women from the Civil War period I often turn to these organizations for assistance.

I salute Lakeville Historical Society for all that they’ve done in their 45 years of existence and wish them many more.

Pioneer Signal Corpsman

The Signal Corps was in its infancy during the Civil War, and among the pioneers who played a critical role relaying orders and messages that kept the Union military moving forward was Loring Robbins (1841-1925). His service ranged from the warships Ellen and Sebago from 1862-1863 to working with army in the Department of the Gulf from 1864-1865. In the latter situation he posed for this photograph in New Orleans. A native of Massachusetts, he’s buried in North Auburn, Maine.

This image is new to my collection and is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Pioneer Signal Corpsman

 

Hidden Mother, Third Arm

Keeping an infant still for the 15 or so seconds required for a photographic exposure during the Civil War period often required a helpful hand from mom. In this carte de visite, by Seaver of Boston, Mass., the hand of the child’s mother can be seen wrapped around the baby’s waist.

This image is new to my collection and is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Hidden Mother, Third Arm

Scholars and Vice

Carte de visite by Currier of Amesbury, Mass., pictures a half dozen students posed with playing cards, stereoview photographs, and assorted papers.

This image is new to my collection, and is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Scholars and Vice

Drum Major of the Fourth Massachusetts

The period ink inscription on the mount of this carte de visite indicates that this drum major served in the Fourth Massachusetts Infantry. The regiment was organized for a three-month enlistment in 1861 and a second enlistment for nine months in 1862. The individual who held this rank in 1861 was George W. Pope.

This image is new to my collection, and is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Drum Major of the Fourth Massachusetts

A Future Governor’s Brother at Mobile Bay, 1864

David King Perkins (1843-1893) of Kennebunkport, Maine, served as an acting master’s mate on the Union warship Seminole from 1863-1865. He was present and aboard the vessel during the Battle of Mobile Bay, the landmark engagement that closed the last major Confederate port in the Gulf of Mexico. After the war, Perkins resided in California, where his older brother, George Clement Perkins, served as governor from 1880-1883 and as a U.S. senator from 1893-1915.

This carte de visite by Guelpa & Demoleni of Boston, Mass., is new to my collection, and will be included in my forthcoming book about the Union and Confederate navies. It is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
A Future Governor’s Brother at Mobile Bay, 1864

Among the First Union Men to Occupy Confederate Richmond

The 54th Massachusetts Infantry is the best known of all the African American regiments in the Civil War. Some are aware that another African American infantry regiment, the 55th, was also organized in Massachusetts.

There was also an African American cavalry regiment formed in Massachusetts—the 5th. It was one of the first Union regiments to occupy Richmond on April 3, 1865, after the city was evacuated. Among the white officers of the regiment who entered the Confederate capital that day was the young man pictured here, 1st Lt. Patrick Tracy Jackson Jr.

His carte de visite is new to my collection, and now available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
Among the First Union Officers to Occupy Richmond

This sketch of his life was published on pages 39-40 of the Harvard College Class of 1865:

PATRICK TRACY JACKSON, the oldest son of Patrick Tracy Jackson second of the name and Susan Mary (Loring) Jackson, was born in Boston, December 19, 1844, and died at Pride’s Crossing, Beverly, October 12, 1918. He was educated at the schools of Miss Ware, Mr. Sullivan, and Mr. Dixwell, where he distinguished himself in the athletics proper to his age.

The Civil War breaking out just before he entered college at once became the principal interest in his life, and after an abortive attempt to go to the front with the New England Guards to defend Washington during the retreat of General Banks in the Shenandoah Valley, he showed that he was in earnest by volunteering on the hospital ship Daniel Webster in his freshman vacation.

Toward the end of his sophomore year, he received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the First Mass. Cavalry, and joined the army during the battle of Chancellorsville. In the march from Chancellorsville to Gettysburg his regiment had only five hours sleep a day for a week, and once he was in the saddle for twenty-five hours without rest. In his entirely unacclimated state he was unable to bear such fatigue and was sent home with typhoid fever before the Battle of Gettysburg. When he returned to the front, he went through an active campaign with the Army of the Potomac for more than a year. Then he accepted a commission as First Lieutenant in the Fifth Mass. Cavalry (colored). After spending some time in guarding rebel prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland, the regiment was sent to the front, and was one of the first to enter Richmond. After the fall of the Confederacy he was sent to Texas to guard the Mexican frontier for fear of trouble with Maximilian. When at last he got away from the army, he went into business with his father in the Hampden Mills, manufacturing ginghams and other cotton goods, and after learning the business in the mill at Holyoke, entered the office in Boston. The mill failed in 1875, and he and his father started business as cotton buyers. After his father’s death the firm, which now included his son, Arthur, took a commanding position in the buying of Egyptian cotton in the Boston market.

In 1871 he married Eleanor Baker Gray; and they had four children: Patrick Tracy Jackson, Arthur Loring Jackson, Susan Loring Jackson (who married John Noble) and Frederick Gray Jackson. He lived in Cambridge until 1917 when he moved to the Hotel Vendome, Boston, for the rest of his life. He took part in the social and dramatic activities of the Executive Committee of the Unitarian Church there. He was also treasurer of the Boston Provident Association (a charitable society) and an enthusiastic member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

His summers were passed at Pride’s Crossing where his classmates Goddard and Tweed gave him many opportunities to gratify his strong love of yachting. For many years he was treasurer of the Eastern Yacht Club.

Toward the end of his life he did a great deal of travelling, his first journeys being to South America, to Para in Brazil and later to La Paz in Bolivia, to see his son, Arthur, who was buying rubber in those places. Later he and his wife went abroad every spring, after the cotton-buying season came to an end, returning in the summer before it began again. In this way they visited the principal countries of Europe. War was declared just as they had started for home on a German steamer, which was the last to reach America.

After they were cut off from Europe, they took journeys to the South and to California. In 1918 trouble with his heart developed with at last fatal results, but it interfered little with his occupations or amusements in the half-year before his death, which came instantly on the 12th of October, 1918,—an easy end of a happy and useful life.

Back to Back Book Events

african-american-faces-of-the-civil-war-200DPITwo weeks, two book talks! Now, catching my breath to acknowledge those who organized and attended.

On June 5, I discussed African American Faces of the Civil War to a great group gathered at the Ft. Taber Community Center in New Bedford, Mass. Sponsored by the New Bedford Historical Society, the attendees included Carl Cruz, great-great-grand-nephew of Sgt. William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry. I had met Carl at the National Gallery of Art at last year’s opening of the Shaw Memorial exhibit. The New Bedford Civil War Round Table also sponsored the event, and I’m grateful to the many folks who turned out. I am also indebted to organizer Lee Blake, and John Centeio for his kindness.

On June 13, I spoke to another great group at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., just outside Albany. Organizer Matt George of the Capital District Civil War Round Table. The event was co-sponsored by the Underground Railroad History Project. Special thanks to the three young re-enactors who attended, dressed in their uniforms.

I am grateful for the invitations, and happy to have had the opportunity to tell the stories and share the photos of men of color who participated in our Civil War.

The Great Whipple

John Adams Whipple (1822-1891) of Boston, Mass., stands out among pioneer photographers for his images of the moon and other astronomical subjects. His authoritative knowledge of the science of photograph-making was complimented by his artistry, as evidenced by surviving likenesses of Bostonians and other early Americans. This Civil War period portrait of a studious boy is representative of his art. The young man gazes downward at a large volume, perhaps a ledger. The lines formed by his crossed legs, the umbrella leaning against the table, the tilt of his head and ribbon on the Glengarry-style Scottish cap form a triangle. The book provides a contrasting line that adds to the visual interest.

This image is new to my collection, and available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
The Great Whipple

J. Worthley, July 21, 1863

This name and date appears on the back of the mount of this carte de visite. Other clues to this soldier’s identity can be found on his forage cap: The horn indicates his service in the infantry, and the brass characters “E” and “44” his membership in Company E of the Forty-fourth infantry. He wears the uniform of Union enlisted man.

Military service records list only one man whose name, rank and organization match the above information: James C. Worthley, who served as a private in Company E of the Forty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry.

Worthley left the regiment in June 1863 after his nine-month term of enlistment ended. The date on this image suggests that this may have been the last (and possibly only) time he posed in the uniform of the Forty-fourth. The regiment had spent the bulk of its time in North Carolina.

Worthley rejoined the army in the fall of 1863 as a sergeant in the Third Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, and served the remainder of the war in the defenses of Washington, D.C. A shoemaker in Boston prior to his military service, New Hampshire-born Worthley moved to Wisconsin at some point after the war. He died in Milwaukee in 1918.

This image is new to my collection, and available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
J. Worthley, July 21, 1863