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Move Over John Burns, Meet John Hicks by Ronald S. Coddington
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Carte de visite of John Hicks by M.S. Simons of Philadelphia, Pa. Officers and enlisted men in the Union army during the second day of the Battle of Shiloh must have been mighty surprised to see a soldier in the ranks old enough to be their grandfather. He was John Hicks, a private in Company D of the 58th Indiana Infantry. A story in the June 16, 1864, issue of the Evansville Daily Journal tells his story: AN OLD SOLDIER—We had the pleasure yesterday of a visit from a genuine old veteran, a soldier of the wars, a man whose example and patriotism should shame the peace sneaks,and the thousands of of stout, able-bodied stay at homes who are determined that the war shall be prosecuted and the rebellion put down if it takes the last male relative themselves and their wives possess. One well acquainted with the history of this brave old soldier says: John Hicks is one of the most remarkable men of our day. A soldier of three wars—he was still in the field at the age of 82. he was born at Flemington, N.J., was raised in Easton, Pa., and worked at his trade in Reading. For the past 20 years he has lived in Indiana. He went into the army in the war of 1812; was again a soldier in 1832 in the Black Hawk war; and in 1860 (being then over 80) he volunteered for three years in the present war, and was enrolled in the 58th Indiana. he was at the Battle of Shiloh, and had a son over 60 years of age, killed there. He has lately been discharged, as somewhat disabled. (His papers prove these facts.) He stands firm and erect, has perfect use of his sight, speech and hearing; uses no cane, and hardly cares to sit down. Such vigor is wonderful. he has lived in the fear of God with temperate habits and hard-working hands. In his manners, modesty and self-respect are combined; he is intelligent and pleasant. Such a man is to be honored; and we owe him something besides. A few persons who chanced to meet him (in the Museum of the Mint) took an interest in him and procured his portrait, which is sold solely for his benefit. D. If you are familiar with John Burns of Gettysburg fame, you have to give John Hicks his due. Researching the life and military service of this soldier is currently in progress. If you have any information to share, including letters, journals, and other personal and public documents, please contact me. I encourage you to use this image for educational purposes only. However, please ask for permission.

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Dexter Palmer & the Powder Boy on the Boat by Ronald S. Coddington
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Carte de visite by J.W. Taft of the Oak Gallery in Memphis, Tenn. The name and location of the photographer and a pencil inscription on the back of the mount of this image, “Dexter Palmer & the powder boy on the boat,” are important clues to the identity of this sailor and his young mate. Another important clue are the uniforms. Dexter Palmer does not appear in any navy lists on various databases. I encourage you to use this image for educational purposes only. However, please ask for permission. carte de visite, coddington, faces of war, civil war, navy, dexter, palmer, powder boy, j.w. taft, oak gallery, memphis, tennessee

Pioneer Signal Corpsman by Ronald S. Coddington
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Carte de visite by Harvey’s New York Gallery in New Orleans, La. The Signal Corps was in its infancy during the Civil War, and among the pioneers who played a critical role relaying orders and messages that kept the Union military moving forward was Loring Robbins (1841-1925). His service ranged from the warships Ellen and Sebago from 1862-1863 to working with army in the Department of the Gulf from 1864-1865. In the latter situation he posed for this photograph in New Orleans. A native of Massachusetts, he’s buried in North Auburn, Maine. I encourage you to use this image for educational purposes only. However, please ask for permission.

The Dendrologists by Ron Coddington on Flickr.

Carte de visite by unidentified photographer. Two men dressed for hiking pose for the camera operator. Both hold walking sticks and have waterproofed haversacks strung across their shoulders. The gentleman standing holds the end of a branch with several large leaves attached, and what appears to be a notebook or sketchbook pinned to the lapel of his coat. The walking stick held by the man seated is ornately carved. His boots are well-worn as evidenced by what appears to be a hole in his right boot. The location and nature of the hole suggests it was done purposefully, perhaps to protect a bunion. These men may have been involved in dendrology, or the study of trees.

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Taking on the Rebel Ram Tennessee by Ronald S. Coddington
Via Flickr:
Carte de visite by Courret Hermanos of Lima, Peru. There came a moment during the Aug. 5, 1864, Battle of Mobile Bay when Rear Adm. David Farragut’s most powerful warships went up against the Confederate ironclad ram Tennessee. The Hartford, Brooklyn and Richmond lined up abreast and bore down on the Tennessee, hell bent on taking her out of action. The Richmond’s crew included one of the navy’s youngest officers, Philip Henry Cooper, pictured here, center. A recent Naval Academy graduate, he had served aboard the Richmond for about a year. Cooper and his shipmates, and the crews of the other two Union vessels, traded shot and shell with the Tennessee for more than an hour before the rebel ram called it quits and raised the white flag. The crew of the Richmond was lucky—no casualties and minimum damage. For Cooper, it was the beginning of a long career in the service of the navy that included cruises around the globe and stints on the staff of his alma mater. He posed for this carte de visite with two of his comrades, Lt. Cmdr. Charles W. Tracy and a secretary named Procter, during a South American cruise about 1866-1868. Cooper retired as a captain in 1904 and died in 1912 at age 68. I encourage you to use this image for educational purposes only. However, please ask for permission.