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War Story: 1861

War Story: 1861

        In 1861, A.M. Chandler enlisted in the Palo Alto Confederates, which became part of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. His mother, Louisa Gardner Chandler, sent Silas, one of her 36 slaves, with him. On Sept. 20, 1863, the 44th Mississippi was engaged in the Battle of Chickamauga, where Chandler was wounded in his leg. A battlefield surgeon decided to amputate but, according to the Chandler family, Silas accompanied him home to Mississippi where the limb was saved. His master's combat service ended as a result of the wound but Silas returned to the war in January 1864 when A.M.'s younger brother, Benjamin, enlisted in the 9th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment. (See also: A Slave's Service in the Confederate Army.

"Sergeant A.M. Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Co. F., and Silas Chandler, family slave, with Bowie knives, revolvers, pepper-box, shotgun, and canteen." Handwritten label on back of frame: "Andrew Martin Chandler, born 1844, died 1920. Servant Silas Chandler. 44th Mississippi Regiment, Col. A.K. Blyth. Wounded in battle of Chickamauga." View full size.


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I wonder what became of Silas Chandler? Did he "desert?" Did he end up fighting for the Union? or did he stick with the Chandlers until the end of the war, and go on to continue to live in that area?

Double action revolver ID (?)

Can't say for sure but it has features of some Tranters. Octagon barrel, "birds head" on the grip at the web of the hand. Some models had a thumbpiece on the hammer for single action first shot and others did not have that feature. But there were also other firearms that had a similar look so it's hard to say for sure.

Blue-eyed Andrew

The somewhat striking look of Andrew's eyes is likely caused by their being blue. The tintype (aka Ferrotype) emulsions were only sensitive to blue light and UV, with only very little sensitivity to green and all but none to yellow and green. Blue eyes reproduce rather light as a result.

Andrew's Eyes

I wonder if Andrew blinked or closed his eyes when the photographer's flash powder ignited? His wide-open eyes look retouched, whereas Silas's are more natural appearing.

[Flash powder was still more than 25 years in the future. Portraits like these were exposed in the studio by daylight coming through large windows and skylights, softened by gauze or other thin fabric curtains. Subjects could blink during the long exposures. -tterrace]


I have a Pepperbox pistol much like the one the African American fella is toting. It appears that the other guy has an 1851 Colt Navy. I'm not sure what the double action revolver is. Can anyone else identify it?
These two guys look like they could be just 16 - 18 years old, maybe younger.

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