Friday, July 22, 2011

Faces of the Civil War: Amazing likeness

In a recent post, I told the tale of Wiley Simeon Boon, who served in the 35th North Carolina Infantry. A farmer from Chatham Country, N.C., Boon was killed at Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862, less than a year after he enlisted as a private in the Confederate army. The final resting place of Boon, one of about 5,300 Confederates killed and wounded in the last of the Seven Days battles near Richmond, is unknown.

After reading one of my posts on Malvern Hill, Wiley's great-great grandson, Brian Farrell of Austin, Texas, e-mailed me a photo of his Civil War ancestor. Farrell's aunt discovered the outstanding tintype of Boon in an attic trunk about eight years ago and thought Wiley resembled Brian. Thanks to Texan Andy Hall, author of the excellent Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog, now we can see just how much of a resemblance.

Using the magic of Photoshop, Hall flopped the photo of Farrell, scaled it to match the old shot and then superimposed it over the photo of Wiley Boon. The resemblance is downright eerie. The photo at the top is of Wiley, probably taken shortly before or after he enlisted. The middle photo is Brian, and the superimposed shot is at the bottom.

"Fun fact: when John Paul Jones’ remains were exhumed in Paris c. 1905 and brought back to the Naval Academy," Hall e-mailed, "they used this same technique to confirm the identity of the bones, using the famous bust by Houdin for comparison. Call it CSI: Annapolis."

Keeping history alive. Gotta love it.

My thanks again to Brian Farrell for sharing the photo and story of his ancestor.


  1. Anonymous10:58 PM

    this is kinda cool

  2. Brian Farrell10:19 PM

    I knew I bore a similarity,but wow.

  3. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Amazing...something to say about genetics...

  4. Anonymous1:01 PM

    All I can say is .. .wow!