A girl with the hint of a smile wears a white dress wrapped with the Stars and Stripes. A second banner is attached to a stick that she grasps in her hand. Completing the costume is a liberty cap, which is emblematic of a slave’s manumission in ancient times and a symbol of freedom in young America. This carte de visite is from Morse’s Gallery of the Cumberland in Nashville, Tenn., circa 1864-1866.
This carte de visite of five well-manicured and impeccably dressed soldiers was taken in the studio of A.S. Morse, a prolific photographer affiliated with the Union Army of the Cumberland.
The absence of shoulder straps on their coats indicates that these men were privates, and a hand-cancelled revenue stamp with Morse’s initials on the back of the photograph’s mount dates the image from 1864-1866.