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Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

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  • Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

    Evening!

    I am always checking out the Library of Congress for new images. While perusing their web site tonight, I found one that I thought would make a good addition to our "Close-Up Images" Series. This image is simply titled "Group of 21st Michigan Infantry. It is dated 1861-65. Here is the link to the Library of Congress Listing:

    http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/civwar/item/2013648706/

    Does anyone know anything specific about this image? Where it was taken? When? Notice anything in particular about uniforms that might lend a clue? In order are the original full image, a cropped version and three close-ups. What do you think? Enjoy!

    Click image for larger version

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    Eric Tipton
    AC Owner
    Founding Member, Mess No. 1
    Cincinnati, Ohio

  • #2
    Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

    Great photo. The diversity or modifications in their head gear is awesome.

    Todd Koster
    Todd Koster
    Western Sharpshooters/66th Illinois
    www.westernsharpshooters.webs.com
    National Henry Rifle Company
    www.44henryrifle.webs.com

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    • #3
      Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

      The gent in the back row 8th from the left and to the right of the Sgt. with the frock is wearing what appears to be a civilian frock. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
      Tyler Underwood
      Moderator
      Pawleys Island #409 AFM
      Governor Guards, WIG

      Click here for the AC rules.

      The search function located in the upper right corner of the screen is your friend.

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      • #4
        Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

        Originally posted by Tyler Underwood View Post
        The gent in the back row 8th from the left and to the right of the Sgt. with the frock is wearing what appears to be a civilian frock. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
        Possibly an officer? There are a few other officers standing to his left. The guy to the left of the Sgt has a frock with what appear to be military button but the top is either modified or folded back to make it look more like a civilian frock as well. If this is later in the war it may be a scavenge during campaign. The guys certainly look campaign hardened in the photo.
        Patrick M. Ferringer

        Governor Guards
        SCAR

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        • #5
          Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

          Originally posted by Tyler Underwood View Post
          The gent in the back row 8th from the left and to the right of the Sgt. with the frock is wearing what appears to be a civilian frock. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
          Could it be the photographer or photographer's assistant too?

          Looks like an awful lot of telescoped hardees or civilian hats. These are some great images!
          Brandon English

          "There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell."--William T. Sherman

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          • #6
            Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

            Originally posted by Tyler Underwood View Post
            The gent in the back row 8th from the left and to the right of the Sgt. with the frock is wearing what appears to be a civilian frock. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
            He could be a sutler. Many accompanied units and had good relationships with them; well, ostensibly, anyway! Some even adopted officer garb, but the civilian frock lends to other interpretations to me.

            Several sutlers are buried alongside Union soldiers in the Federal cemetery in Winchester, VA. They are so designated on their headstones.

            Interesting nonetheless, and the photo shows a wide variety of coats, etc. I would wager a few are commercial purchase. Which brings us full circle to the chap in the frock.

            Great stuff, Eric. Thanks for posting.
            Ivan Ingraham
            AC Moderator

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            • #7
              Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

              Sharing this on FB to see if one of my fellow Michigan friends has any more info on the image. I seem to recall a discussion earlier this year on this image or one close to it of the 21st.
              Respectfully,

              Jeremy Bevard
              Moderator
              Civil War Digital Digest
              Sally Port Mess

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                Jeremy, I know, right? I kept thinking the same thing! We are both right, but it was a different photo. Here is the thread:

                http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?41514-A-Close-Up-Image-Unidentified-Group-of-Federal-Soldiers

                Mike Hoover chimed in with some info on the 21st Michigan as well. I thought this one might get your attention being that you are from that state up north. ;)

                Some observations I had the more I looked at this photo:

                First, it always amazes me how young their faces look when you really start looking closely at each individual. I know they are young, but somehow it still surprises me.

                A lot of hats and very few caps that I can see. The hats are predominantly Hardees and civilian and yes, the character of the hat is everything, of course. ;)

                I would guess that this is '63 or '64, but that is a guess just based on their overall appearance and demeanor.

                Yeah, a really mixed bag on coats. Frocks, jackets, sacks, civilian.
                Last edited by Eric Tipton; 12-11-2014, 10:50 AM.
                Eric Tipton
                AC Owner
                Founding Member, Mess No. 1
                Cincinnati, Ohio

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                • #9
                  Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                  I think there was a discussion on this photo on Facebook. The downside of Facebook is I don't think there would be anyway to find it now. No search feature there!!

                  The 21st Michigan has a great story and them saw some hard service. Looking at these faces it makes wonder if any of them are the men in a story about two in the 21st Michigan during Sherman's march.

                  The story as best as I can recall:

                  Two 21st Michigan bummers were out foraging and found two little girls that had been abandoned. They cleaned and fed the girls and spent the night in cabin. The next day they went into the town to find the mother or someone to take them in. They had no luck so they took the girls with them, carrying them on their backs, on to Savannah. When Savannah fell city officials were contacted again with no luck finding someone to take the girls. They were then taken to Michigan with an officer and raised as his own.

                  Another great 21st Michigan story and timely for the holidays.
                  Again, some 21st Bummers cooked a meal for members of a town outside of Savannah. They went door to door delivering the food before running out.
                  Respectfully,

                  Jeremy Bevard
                  Moderator
                  Civil War Digital Digest
                  Sally Port Mess

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                  • #10
                    Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                    Careful Jeremy, you might make the blue devils appear to be saints. Then what is everyone going think about Sherman’s bummers?

                    Also, have a look at the color of the hat that the second standing man from the right is holding in the last picture.
                    Last edited by Tyler Underwood; 12-11-2014, 10:42 AM.
                    Tyler Underwood
                    Moderator
                    Pawleys Island #409 AFM
                    Governor Guards, WIG

                    Click here for the AC rules.

                    The search function located in the upper right corner of the screen is your friend.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                      One thing that always stands out to me is the amount of officers style hat cords you see. They seem to show up with some regularity on western federals. That seems to be one of the few things that is still frowned upon in our circles. I've never done it either, but it would be neat to see a few every now and again.
                      Scott Sheets
                      Joliet, IL

                      36th Illinois
                      Dirty Shirts

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                      • #12
                        Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                        NARA has a related set of 21st Michigan views (attributed to Brady & co) on their Wiki Commons page:
                        http://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index...=Go&uselang=en

                        - - - Updated - - -

                        I like this one in particular:
                        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/Co._of_21st_Michigan_Infantry%2C_Sherman%27s_veter ans_-_NARA_-_530548.jpg

                        Just lounging about camp, many in their shirtsleeves.
                        Brendan Hamilton
                        Jerusalem Plank Road

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                        • #13
                          Re: Close-Up Image - Group of 21st Michigan Infantry

                          Thank you for posting these pictures. The sergeant on the far right, third picture from the top bares a close resemblance to my grand father, and may very well be my great-great grand father Elias Minier who was a sergeant with Company A 21 MVI, and this may very well be him. His brother Francis was captain of Company A and two of his other brothers served as privates during the war, in Company A as well. I may never know if any of these men are really my family or not, but I really enjoy looking over these photos and wondering. Thanks again
                          Roger Marsh
                          Chaplain
                          10th Michigan V.I.

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