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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 164
Just a couple of original images from my USSS collection that I managed to ID after a bit of detective work.

First is a tintype with a variation of the the usual scrub pines found in a number of 2nd U.S. Sharpshooter camp photographs taken in the spring/summer of 1862 at Falmouth. I had purchased this as an unidentified probable sharpshooter but found a great ink inscription on the back once I uncased the image; it reads "To Mary and Martha Harrington." Going from there I began to check census, marriage, and death records to try and learn who Martha and Mary Harrington were. A wider search of Harrington family members revealed the name Elisha Harrington of Dorset, Vermont, who enlisted as a private in Co. H 2nd USSS in Nov. 1861.

Elisha was a 26-year old farmer who stood 6'4" tall and had a light complexion, gray eyes, and dark hair when he joined Berdan's Sharpshooters. His immediate family appears to have been spread out between two neighboring Vermont counties. The family was quite large with many step and half siblings, but Elisha's cousin Martha Harrington had a daughter out of wedlock named Mary who also shared her mother's maiden name. Mary would have been 3-4 years old when this image was taken in 1862. Martha also had a sister named Mary who was wed to the brother of another Berdan's sharpshooter from Vermont. In another great coincidence, Elisha's next door neighbor William Newell enlisted in 1861 as 1st Sergeant of Co. H 2nd USSS.

Elisha served until being transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on Sept. 30th, 1863 and was mustered out of service on Jan. 11th, 1865. He returned home to Vermont and passed away in 1870. I am still researching his family history as well as the circumstances of his death.

I received this image in trade early last year after spotting it on the wall at Ronn Palm's museum in Gettysburg (it took a few Bucktail images to get). The first thing that stood out was the Colt Revolving Rifle, but the backdrop is one that can be seen in a handful of 2nd USSS portraits of men displaying either their Colts or Sharps rifles. That means the photographer was based somewhere near Falmouth, VA during the spring/summer of 1862 when the 2nd USSS was camped in the area. If you look at his forage cap you will see that it's tinted green. Previous owners assumed this was a cavalryman armed with a Colt Carbine, however they did not notice the socket bayonet on his belt, or the infantry cartridge box strap over his shoulder. The image included a note reading "James in uniform, War of 1861." To narrow down the list of possible sharpshooters he could be, I found every man in the regiment with the first or last name of James. Some of them I had photos for (ruling them out immediately), and the dates of their joining or discharge ruled out several more. Census records were consulted to attain the ages of the other men names James who were in the regiment during the time the image could have been taken. One man remained; James Tuttle of Company B, a 20-year old when he enlisted in 1861. I consider this a tentative ID until I find an alternate portrait of Tuttle.

Brian White
Wambaugh, White, & Company
Randolph Mess, U.S. Sharpshooters

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