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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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Aiken's Landing: 1864

Aiken's Landing: 1864

November 1864. Aiken's Landing, Virginia. "Army of the James. Convalescent colored troops at Aiken's Landing. A.M. Aiken's house at right." View full size.

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Southern sympathizer

William Frassanito's books are a goldmine of information. A.M. Aiken had pledged not to aid the Confederates but on July 5, 1864 a Union detachment found he had been supplying hay and grain to the Confederates and also assisted 5 soldiers to escape capture. He was arrested and described as a "great rascal". These soldiers were part of General Butlers army. He was a great champion of African American soldiers.


I have to comment on this picture. I have seen few images here at that were so inspiring to me as this one. The image of African American men who have been wounded in battle fighting for their freedom moves me deeply.

A better view

Here's a better view from Bing Maps.

Birdhouse, Army-style?

Bird HOUSE? Bird BARRACKS is more like it.

Martin House

That is certainly a purple martin house. According to this page:

Purple martins are domesticated, in the sense that they require human-built nests. This happened before the Europeans arrived, when the native Americans put up collections of gourds for them to inhabit. Apparently the communal bird house of the type pictured here has been around for quite a while.

Signal Corps

A fine example of Army Signal Corp barracks for pigeon-toed recruits.

This is for the birds

And to the left of Aiken's house is a condo for 72 homing pigeons, or what?


What a grand birdhouse!

Varina, VA

The house is still apparently standing in Varina, a little southeast of Richmond.

Chez Martin

If I saw that birdhouse today, I would assume it was for purple martins. Were they popular back then? Were they trying to keep down the insect population?

SHORPY OLD 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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