JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Company B: 1864

Company B: 1864

August 1864. "Petersburg, Virginia. Group of Company B, U.S. Engineer Battalion." Photographs from the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet-plate glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Why hello

Total crush on the guy seated on the far left with his legs crossed.

Company B from Maine

Company B was one of several new companies of engineers formed at the beginning of the War and was recruited in Portland, Maine. My great grandfather, a farm boy from Gardiner, joined up and served until 1867 when he was discharged with the rank of sergeant. His Army experience was far-reaching since following the War he had a long and successful career as a building contractor in Knoxville, Atlanta and Birmingham. I have no photographs of him and few stories so these old pictures give some feeling of his adventures. I can't help but wonder if he might be one of these strange and fierce-looking characters.


I noticed the man on the far right has a castle emblem on his shirt, the same castle Army Engineers have today.

[It's the same insignia that's on the other men's caps. - Dave]

The Bearded Ones

It is striking to see clean-shaven Civil War guys, isn't it? The drama club boys of a few days ago had a couple whiskerless ones too. The giant beard is really ingrained in the "Civil War Soldier" mental image. It's interesting that the beard thing was so ubiquitous, and then completely went away and pretty much never came back -- for which I must say I am thankful. Most guys I know indulge their urge for facial hair with stunts like "No Shave November," but fortunately, they are not like that all the time.

The Pipe

That looks to be a clay bowl with a dry reed stem. Some soldiers had briar pipes, but I believe the clay and reed combos were very affordable.

Essayons stars?

I recognize the cross-legged soldier on the left. He was a member of Essayons Dramatic Club. If you check their group photo he is also on the left front row.

See Dave -- we do pay close attention to your postings.

[I don't think he's in the other photo. - Dave]


...where's that Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy?

Long pipe

Maybe he'd heard about secondhand smoke.

The Engineer Crest

has what appears to be a "C" above it. This would normally indicate these men are from Company C rather than Company B.

[There's also a D. Same setting as this photo. - Dave]

Hat Brass

It's a rarity to see so much hat brass on soldiers this late in the war. Usually it was one of the first things to be lost.

Two firsts for me

I've never seen a pipe that long. His smoke is probably coming out on the other side of the Mason-Dixon.

Also, I think this may be the first picture I've ever seen of a completely clean-shaven Civil War soldier.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2022 Shorpy Inc.