|A close-up of the face of the young woman in the CDV below.|
|CDV of an unknown woman with a tie to the Battle of Antietam.|
(Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.
"Woman" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1827 - 1934.)
| CDV of a Union officer found in the Ezra Carman Papers|
with the image of the young woman in this post.
(Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
"Soldier" New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1827 - 1934.)
At an unknown date after Antietam, fought Sept. 17, 1862, in the farm fields and woodlots near the village of Sharpsburg, Md., the ambrotype was copied and made into a CDV by Bascom William Tell Phreaner, who ran a photography business in Hagerstown, Md., from 1864-1907. In addition to shooting images of the Antietam battlefield, Phreaner was a portrait photographer.
That one line on back of the Phreaner CDV prompts scores of questions, among them:
Who is the young woman?
What is the "unknown" soldier's name? Was the woman his wife or sweetheart?
Was the ambrotype found in the grave of a Confederate or Union soldier?
Where on the battlefield was the image found?
When was the photograph found? Many remains of Union soldiers who died at Antietam were moved to the national cemetery in 1867; others were removed and buried in hometown cemeteries. In the years immediately after the Civil War, remains of Southern soldiers were removed from the field and often re-buried in the Confederate section of Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown or Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Was the copy of the image part of a publicity effort to discover the identity of the woman and the soldier? If so, did stories about it appear in publications in Maryland, or was a national effort made to discover the identity of the soldier and the sad-eyed, young woman? What was published about this image, if anything? A initial search of Maryland newspapers of the era available on newspapers.com provided no clues.
|A close-up of the officer in the CDV above.|
Adding another twist to our photo mystery, the image of the woman was found with a CDV of a Union soldier in the Ezra A. Carman Papers in the New York Public Library by preeminent Antietam historian Tom Clemens. Is the officer part of this story? Could his identification lead to solving the mystery? Perhaps the badge (see enlargement below) could be a clue to his identity.
|Could this badge on the officer's chest be a clue to unlocking |
our mystery? This is a cropped enlargement
of the photograph above.
This post is sprinkled with clues. Our hope is Civil War brainpower around the world can lead to identification of the soldier and woman. Photographs in this post may be downloaded at the New York Public Library site here, here and here. And, by all means, please share this post on social media.
My deep-dive into this story has officially begun. Let's solve a Civil War mini-mystery.
|The reverse of the carte-de-visite of the young woman with the sad eyes.|
(Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "
Woman" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1827 - 1934.)