Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zooming in on the Faces of Quartermaster Mechanics

When it comes to Civil War soldiers, too often overlooked are the vital support troops. Without the services of these men the Union and Confederate armies would have be virtually useless. The army quartermasters kept the infantry, artillery, and cavalry, armed, fed, clothed, and sheltered. They fixed wagons, shod horses, doled out uniforms, and generally kept the armies moving and supplied.

The above photograph is an excellent image of a group of quartermaster mechanics from the 1st Division of the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac, near Petersburg, Virginia, in August 1864. Some hold their various trade implements such as hammers and horseshoes; some have on work aprons, and they sport a variety of hat styles - only one man appears to be hatless. Pipe smoking must have been a trade standard, as most of the men have one clenched in their teeth. Without a doubt they are a tough looking set of men that saw their own share of challenges and demands. 

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

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