Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Zooming in on Federal Soldiers Removing Artillery from Confederate Fortifications

It has been a while since I shared a "Zooming In" post, but I located a neat image on the Library of Congress website that produced some amazing details from the downloaded TIFF file, so here goes. The title of this particular image is "Petersburg, Va., Federal Soldiers Removing Artillery from Confederate Fortifications." If I were to speculate on where this image was photographed I would say probably somewhere around the Fort Mahone environs where the IX Corps attacked on April 2, 1865. That's just a guess though.

In the center left of the photograph a British-made Enfield rifle musket rests against a section of a revetment. Various pieces of camp equipment are also scattered about. A frying pan, two tarred haversacks, and a large tin cup with a bale are clearly visible. What looks to be a mitten and waist belt with a rectangular buckle also appear in this clipped view.

In the right foreground a white rag with a stick lays on the ground. One wonders if this served as method for surrender for some of the former Confederate occupant defenders. Or, maybe it was used by some of the Union attackers, as some of them were captured in the initial assaults.

Two artillerymen sit on a limber staring at the camera. The one on the left wears a military forage cap and has his scarf tied in an unusual manner under his arm. He holds a book in his right hand. A sword hilt is visible between the men on the limber cover under what looks to be a greatcoat. The man on the right wears a slouch hat and a shell jacket. The soldier standing before them wears a kepi with a waterproof cover over top of it.

Another artilleryman sits on the stock of the 3-inch ordnance rifle that the limber is pulling. He also sports a kepi with a cover and a shell jacket with piping on the sleeve cuff. His trousers are tucked into his boots and he carries both a canteen and a haversack. Attached to his haversack is a shiny tin cup.

Scattered around on the ground in front of the artillery piece's wheel are what looks to be numerous cartridge papers, likely left by the Confederate defenders.

In the background of the image are the remnants of winter quarters. Some look to be bombproofs, some having wood and earthen chimneys and barrel extensions.

The clarity of this photograph is particularly impressive. That fact comes through on things like the wheel hub lock and spokes of the artillery piece. The cannon's water bucket (below the hub) and hand spike used to help aim the piece laterally (above the hub) both also appear.

You can find this image here.

1 comment: