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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Petersburg: 1864

Petersburg: 1864

August 1864. "Petersburg, North Carolina. Group at headquarters of the Provost Marshal Department." View full size. Wet collodion glass-plate negative, LOC.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Bounty Hunters

They tracked down deserters.


I'd say based on his expression, he can wear whatever the hell he wants on his feet, and there's not a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it.

They look like a group of badasses. Those faces have stories to tell.

Is this Petersburg, NC or VA?

I was born, raised, and lived most if my life in North Carolina, but I've never heard of a Petersburg. Does anyone know if it existed at the time or is this just mis-labeled? Petersburg, VA would make more sense.

[Petersburg, North Carolina according to the Library of Congress caption information. It's in Onslow County. - Dave]

that's Virgil Cain

he rode the Danville train, til Stoneman's calvary came and tore up the tracks again.

Stacy Keach?

That dude with the boots seated in the middle looks a little like Stacy Keach, doesn't he?

Not sure who they might be but here're some clues....

The Provost Marshall's position was the 19th-century army's equivalent of military police - though there were no units specifically recognized as such - regular units were detailed for "provost duty" from time to time.

The striking thing is that so few of them are in any semblance of a uniform. Most are in civilian dress. Several as well seem a bit old to have been soldiers by this point in the war. By 1864 most enlistees were in their 20's or younger. Also, few federal enlisted men of the era carried more than one change of clothes (usually just a shirt and pair of drawers). It doesn't seem likely they were soldiers.

It's possible they were sutlers, merchants authorized to follow troops and provide those items not usually available from the Quartermaster. They typically had to have permission of the CO through the office of the Provost Marshal.

Hats off

The man sitting third from the left has his hat cocked in the perfect definition of "jaunty."

I'd have loved to have been in any bar or saloon that they all would have gone to.

"How do I get to the Susquehanna Hat Company?"

A Drummer?

The guy in the lower right corner looks like Levon Helm.

Not a belt among them!

I wish I knew more about who these guys were. Were they ex soldiers? Soldiers on leave? Locals?
There's a note of some kind attached to the top of the door. It'd be nice to zoom in on it, to see if we can read it.

Petersburg: 1864

great to see pictures of 150 years old and above.

Union control of North Carolina..

Much of the eastern portion of North Carolina was under federal control by this time. Some ports had fallen as early as 1862 but there were holdouts. Wilmington was the last to fall in February of 1865.


What a great shot. Would North Carolina be under Union control by 1864?

Does anyone know the technical term for the concentric blur that grows at the edges of the picture? It's not a depth of field effect.

On the Porch Roof

There are two objects on the porch of the roof. One looks like a window frame, but the other? Anyone know what that is?

Worse still. . . .


HMM is them the

Hatfields or the McCoys?

Is the man on the far left

Is the man on the far left wearing slippers?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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