Thursday, May 4, 2017


This ambrotype of two Confederate soldiers is
representative of the types of pictures volunteer
soldiers had made. The volunteer at left is wearing
an unusual Phrygian style cap over his tricornered hat.
(Photo courtesy Grensboro Hisotical Museum)

[Originally run in Lake Charles American Press, May 11, 1992]

Volume features photographs of individual Southern soldiers

"Still More Confederate Faces" by D. A. Serrano; Metropolitan Co., 16-66 Bell Blvd.; Bayside, N.Y. 11360; 223 pages; 465 photographs.
Photography was still new when the War Between the States started in 1861 and volunteer soldiers from across the nation proudly posed for portraits to leave as keepsakes for families. Today, while thousands of these early photographs still exist, Confederate images arc much rarer than Union ones, both because there were fewer photographers in the South and also because there were twice as many Yankee soldiers.
Following in the tradition of three previous "Confederate Faces," albums by different authors, D.A. Serrano has compiled 465 portrait photographs of individual Southern soldiers.
These previous volumes arc all are out of print and have become much sought after collector's items.
In the introduction of the book is a brief history of photography in that period. The three main types of photographs made then were ambrotypes, which are images fixed directly on a glass plate; tintypes, images or japanned iron plates and paper prints in small "cartes de visite" (calling card) size or larger albumen size, both of which were made from a glass plate negative.                                                                                                                                                     The ambrotypes offered the finest detail and clarity, which often exceeds anything modern photography can offer. Some were elaborately hand colored. The author said the goal of the volume to simply to preserve for the historical record the images of individual Southern soldiers. However, the pictures are also excellent first-hand sources for a view of the wide variety of uniforms and weapons used by Confederate soldiers, although some of the guns and knives may be photographer's props. Soldiers from all of the Confederatc states, including Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi are included in the album.
The pictures come from historical repositories from around the nation and from many private collections, some published for the first time. Most are also identified by name and regiment.
Anyone interested in the War for Southern Independence should find this pictorial-history a delight.

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