The Curious Case of a Colonel's Coat | HistoryNet MENU

The Curious Case of a Colonel’s Coat

By Richard Lewis
6/20/2017 • Civil War Times Magazine

The former Confederates who had their postwar images taken at Mathew Brady’s New York studio wearing Southern General Mansfield Lovell’s coat were not the only ones who posed at that location in the same uniform. Consider another set of photographs of six Confederate officers. They all wear a frock coat bearing the stars of a colonel – and yes, it is the very same coat on each, including a man identified as Joseph Finnegan, who was not a colonel but a general.

Gen. Joseph Finenegan, C.S.A. (Library of Congress)

In each image the subject sits facing to his right front except for the photo of cavalryman Harry Gilmor, who sits in profile.

These images are all sharp, clear and well-lit and are excellent examples of the best photographer’s work of the era.

Col. J.B. Duman, CSA (Library of Congress)

Recently a carte de visite turned up on eBay showing a very young man wearing what appears to be the same colonel’s coat, seated in a fringed chair with a fabric backdrop behind him.

The backdrop is the same as the one seen in the Brady images of Beverly Robertson (See more images from Brady’s studio here). It is a roundabout way of connecting the dots, but if this is the uniform worn by the other six “colonels” and this young man in fact posed in front of the backdrop seen in Robertson’s Brady photos, then this is another piece of evidence that the pictures of the other six officers were also taken at Brady’s.

Col. John W. Hinsdale, CSA (Library of Congress)

Col. John S. Green (Library of Congress)

Col. Harry Gilmor (Library of Congress)

Col. Henry Ashby, 2nd Regt. Tenn. Cavalry (Library of Congress)



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