Monday, February 11, 2013

A Mexican War Image


The soldier pictured above has what might be one of the most unique nineteenth century first names I have come across - and I have seen some strange ones. 

According to information I was able to find online, Bazaleel Wells Armstrong was born in 1823 in Ohio and served as was a lieutenant in 2nd Regiment Dragoons in the Mexican War. Apparently his father was General John Armstrong and his mother was Isabella McKaig Armstrong. It also appears that Armstrong survived combat, but according to a printed notice in the Lima [Ohio] Argus he died in New Lisbon, Ohio, on February 17, 1849, at 26 years old. 

Was his death due to wounds received in the war? Or, was it from a tropical disease he contracted in Mexico? Did he commit suicide, or was he murdered? Was he in an accident?

Mexican War photographs like this are rather rare as the science of making daguerreotype images was only about a decade old when the war broke out.  

Image courtesy of the National Archives.

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