Slaves, freedmen spied on South during Civil War

Posted by admin | Posted in Links | Posted on 21-06-2011

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AP story:

WASHINGTON – In the Confederate circles he navigated, John Scobell was considered just another Mississippi slave: singing, shuffling, illiterate and completely ignorant of the Civil War going on around him.

Confederate officers thought nothing of leaving important documents where Scobell could see them, or discussing troop movements in front of him. Whom would he tell? Scobell was only the butler, or the deckhand on a rebel sympathizer’s steamboat, or the field hand belting out Negro spirituals in a powerful baritone.

In reality, Scobell was not a slave at all.

He was a spy sent by the Union army, one of a few black operatives who quietly gathered information in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with Confederate spy-catchers and slave masters who could kill them on the spot. These unsung Civil War heroes were often successful, to the chagrin of Confederate leaders who never thought their disregard for blacks living among them would become a major tactical weakness.

Continue reading here

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Link: Halloween History, Lincoln

Posted by admin | Posted in Links | Posted on 29-10-2010

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1865 - Abraham Lincoln

Ward Hill Lamon, a close friend of the president’s, wrote down what Lincoln told him on an evening in early 1865: “About ten days ago I retired very late…,” the president told Lamon. “I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a deathlike stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs.

“There, the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room. No living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed alone…I was puzzled and alarmed.

“Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face covered, others weeping pitifully.

“‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers. ‘The President,’ was his answer. ‘He was killed by an assassin.’”

Read the entire article here.

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Link: Civil War Dolls X-rayed

Posted by admin | Posted in Links | Posted on 28-10-2010

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Two Civil War-era dolls thought to have been used to smuggle medicine past Union blockades were X-rayed Wednesday, disclosing hollowed papier-mache heads that once could have contained quinine or morphine for wounded or malaria-stricken Confederate troops.

The 150-year-old dolls, dubbed Nina and Lucy Ann, were likely packed with the drugs and shipped from Europe in the hope that Union troops would not inspect toys when looking for contraband, a museum official said.

Nina and Lucy Ann were taken to VCU Medical Center from their home next door, The Museum of the Confederacy, to see if the contours inside their craniums and upper bodies were roomy enough to carry the medicines.

The conclusion: yes.

The next step could be forensic testing for any traces of the drugs.

Continue reading…

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Civil War - General Isaac Stevens, Wiggle

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 20-10-2010

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Beaufort, S.C. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens on same porch. Photograph of the Federal Navy, and seaborne expeditions against the Atlantic Coast of the Confederacy, specifically of Port Royal, S.C., 1861-1862.

This is the animation that crashed on me Sunday.  He could be Brad Pitt’s grandfather.  Below is a bigger view.  View the original at the loc website here.  I will have this print up for sale in the next few days at

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1865 - Soldiers Boxing, Colorized Wiggle

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 16-10-2010

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April 1865, Federal Camp, Petersburg, Va., Soldiers "Boxing"

The only thing I dislike about this blog layout is the restrictions on the sizes of the images I can post.  Horizontally they can only be about 620 pixels before they start to slide into the margins.  I will eventually try and learn enough css to be able to expand the actual photo page, until then, click on the image and it will take you to the big version.

View the original at the loc website here.

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1862 - General Stoneman and Staff, Colorized Wiggle

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 02-10-2010

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1862 - Fair Oaks, Virginia (vicinity). Gen. George Stoneman and staff.

George Stoneman, Jr. (August 8, 1822 – September 5, 1894) was a career United States Army officer, a Union cavalry general in the American Civil War, and the 15th Governor of California between 1883 and 1887.  Wiki page.

View the original at the Library of Congress website here.

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1863 - A Muss at Headquarters, Colorized Wiggle

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 28-09-2010

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1863 - Falmouth, Virginia. A muss at headquarters, Army of the Potomac. Colorized Stereo Card Wiggle Animation.

1863 - Falmouth, Virginia. A muss at headquarters, Army of the Potomac.

I absolutely fell in love with this image when I found it.  It’s so rare to see such a candid and funny shot from this era.  When I got to working on it, I realized this image had something that no other image I have yet to find has, motion.  At first I thought it was warping, and it was a bit warped, but the movement you see is actually the movement of the soldiers.  The first image was taken, then the angled image was taken a split second later, with artistic and skilled timing.  In each side, the men move ever so slightly, blurring some areas and creating motion in the image.  I do hope to find more of these, it’s a wonderful effect and impressively creative stereoscopic photography.

What I never figured out is why in the world that guy on the right is digging a hole.

View the original image here.

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1865 - Colorized Civil War Artillery Men

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 16-09-2010

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1865 - Washington, District of Columbia. Officers and men, 3d Regiment, Mass. Heavy Artillery at Fort Tottar?

I modeled the Union uniform colors from this example.  I highly recommend the full size if you enjoy this version, just click it.  View the original at the library of congress here.

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A variety of historically interesting stills

Posted by admin | Posted in Still photographs | Posted on 14-09-2010

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1921 (?) - New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach, right, watching agents pour liquor into sewer following a raid during the height of prohibition

1911 (?) - National Anti-Suffrage Association

1910 - Konopli︠a︡noe pole Title Translation: Hemp field

1882-1883 - Workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop; first model; left hand; and quarter-size head--Winter 1882?

Little Rock, 1959. Rally at state capitol

March 4, 1861 - Inauguration of President Lincoln at U.S. Capitol

K.K.K. parade, 8/8/25

"The Awakening" - A James H. Hull production for Beaumont Klan No. 7 - KKK, Beaumont, Texas, May 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1924 / photo by Reeves. Notice the actors in "black face".

1863 - A Virginia slave child in 1863 / Van Dorn, photograph artist, 285 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

Note that I am in no way supporting any of the subjects in these images.  They were chosen because they are historically interesting, and in some cases very sad.

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1864 - Nashville View

Posted by admin | Posted in Wiggle Animations | Posted on 13-09-2010

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1864 - Nashville, Tennessee. View from Capitol.

A fantastic image by George N. Barnard, it was just begging for some color.  View the original at the LOC website here.

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