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Commissary Clerks: 1863

Commissary Clerks: 1863

February 1863. "Aquia Creek Landing, Virginia. Group of Commissary clerks." Wet plate glass negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.


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Perhaps they look angular because they are thin. That is to say, perhaps I too would look similarly angular if I was not carrying around 40 unnecessary pounds. Also, it is always a bit surprising to me when I realize that often in these photos the subjects are younger than I think at first. Age also changes faces of course, especially with the forever growing nose and ear cartilage, in addition to the extra weight of age. Just a thought.


Actually, it's a Sibley tent. It was authentic issue for the period, and the idea did come from the Western Plains tepee.

There, There

The fellow in the center looks really down, but his buddy is consoling him.

Snappy crocheted tie

The second from the left wears a crocheted tie. I've seen patterns for these in the ladies' magazines of the period, but never one in actual usage. They're sort of ugly, really. But I'll bet he's wearing it because his sweetheart made it for him.


Were they regulation? I don't recall seeing tipis in Civil War photos.


Someone said, "You can tell a lot about a man by the shine of his shoes, " or something like that.

It is interesting to note

It has always amazed me how men of that era always seem to look so rough with sharp, angular features. Look at Lincoln, Custer and "Stonewall" Jackson to name a few. Have we changed so much in the interim?

Medical Breakthroughs

In this case, the cough drop. The presence of the third and fourth gentlemen, the brothers Smith, Trade and Mark.

Buster and friends

I find it somewhat sobering that these fellows, were they still around today, would be around about 180 years old.

I am astonished, too, that Buster Keaton in this picture looks just as old as he would more than fifty years hence when he starred in moving pictures ... someone may gainsay me, but I won't believe that the fellow second from left really isn't Buster.

All in all, "things" and "stuff" change rapidly, but people have looked the same for millennia. Thank Providence for some constancy!

A wonderful picture.

Blackwater circa 1863

Lack of uniforms leads me to believe these are civilian employees of the Union Supply Corps. Aquia Creek Landing was a major logistics depot on the Potomac from the summer of 1861 until the Union Army headed north towards what would be the Gettysburg campaign.

In February 1863, the Union Army had just suffered a bloody defeat at Fredericksburg and had entered winter encampment. In May, would follow the defeat at Chancellorsville. It was a difficult time for the boys in blue.

Nice boots

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