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The Wall: 1865

The Wall: 1865

"St. John's Church and graveyard from street. Main eastern theater of war, fallen Richmond, April-June 1865." Wet plate glass negative. View full size.


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I suspect

that these are just children who were interested in the novel spectacle of the photographer at work, not something they would have seen every day. I'll bet the photographer said "How about getting your picture taken?"

The boys holding "books" are most likely actually newsboys holding broadsheets. Children didn't use notebooks. They would have used slates, if, indeed they were at school at all. Judging from the state of the clothing, they would hardly have had schoolbooks of their own. Very few schools would have had much beyond a primer (if that) and most of then would have been shared between students and God help the child that dirtied or damaged one.


This picture raises more questions than it answers. Are we looking at a group of students from a school set up by the North? (Some of the children seem to have books but not all)If so, what is the role of the two men--one of whom is African-American? Is it just a group of random children? Why are most of the young boys dressed in military-style uniforms?

This is a very ambiguous photo. I wish the caption had more information.

Does anyone have any theories?


I am a Civil War aficionado but I can't figure out what this particular shot is just seems odd the photographer would line up a row of children against a wall for a single orphanage perhaps? Thoughts?

Similar present-day view

This is from North 24th Street.

Built in 1741, St. John's Episcopal Church was the site of Patrick Henry's famous quote in his closing address to the Second Virginia Convention, "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

One shoeless girl

In this photo which seems exclusively for males only, one wonders how the little lady on the extreme left was able to be included in the picture.

I wonder

if there is a covered casket(s) in the back of that wagon; and WHAT is propped up against that empty bottle on the ground?

[The wagon is the photographer's; the bottle would be for chemicals related to his work; the thing is a plate holder. -Dave]

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