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This image is of John Munson of the 72nd Illinois Mounted Infantry of Col. John Wilder’s brigade, which was instrumental to the Union success in the Tullahoma Campaign. Wilder’s five regiments from Indiana and Illinois fought as mounted infantry, and were armed with rapid-firing Spencer Rifle breechloaders that could fire seven shots without reloading. On June 24, 1863, Wilder’s rapid-moving, fast-shooting regiments overwhelmed Confederates holding Hoover’s Gap, securing a key victory for the Army of the Cumberland.

In this photo, Munson holds his Spencer and sits astride a horse he named “John Mosby.” The battered horse tack and the battered horse itself exemplify the rough condition of many of Wilder’s mounts, which were mostly scavenged from Tennessee farms.