Browsing through the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs on the Library of Congress website, I came across the image below of Private Henry Augustus Moore of Company F, 15th Mississippi Infantry. The youthful looking Moore holds a short artillery broadsword and a sign that reads "JEFF DAVIS AND THE SOUTH!" leans against his arm, which in turn rests on a table cover that appears to have leaves printed on it.
I remembered seeing the same "Jeff Davis" sign in a photograph that is in the collection of the Kentucky Historical Society (above). I remembered the unknown man in the KHS photograph was much older looking than Moore. But, when I found the picture on the KHS digital collections the first thing that came to my mind is if the photograph was taken at the same place or by the same photographer as the Moore image.
If I had to guess, I would say yes. The "Jeff Davis" sign is my first clue. Both not only say the exact same thing, but the "N" in the word "AND" is reversed in both signs--for some odd reason. Additionally it appears that both are leaning on the same leafy-looking table cloth.
However, there are differences, too. Both men hold edged weapons, but they are not the same. The unknown man in the KHS photograph holds what appears to be a Bowie knife that has a flat hilt. Moore's weapon is definitely different. The unknown man wears civilian clothes, while Moore is in the distinctive uniform jacket of the 15th Mississippi Infantry. Additionally, Moore does not hold a gun, while the unknown man hold a double-barrel shotgun.
Is it possible that these photographs were taken in Kentucky? The 15th Mississippi did fight at Mill Springs in January 1862. And that might explain why the Kentucky Historical Society has a photograph by what appears to be the same photographer. Who knows? Just another history mystery waiting to be solved.
Images courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society and Library of Congress.