Anti-Slavery Token, c1838
Commissioned by the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1837 and minted by Gibbs Gardner & Co of Belleville, New Jersey. The token was based on an image used for the seal of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Civil War Ghost or Just an Out of Focus Shot?
This photograph was taken during the American Civil War. A ghost, believed to be that of a dead soldier, was captured walking up these stairs in a basement.
Ghosts of the Past - Decayed Daguerreotypes from the Matthew Brady Studio, 1844-1860
Daguerreotype portraits were made by the model posing (often with head fixed in place with a clamp to keep it still the few minutes required) before an exposed light-sensitive silvered copper plate, which was then developed by mercury fumes and fixed with salts. This fixing however was far from permanent – like the people they captured the images too were subject to change and decay. They were extremely sensitive to scratches, dust, hair, etc, and particularly the rubbing of the glass cover if the glue holding it in place deteriorated. As well as rubbing, the glass itself can also deteriorate and bubbles of solvent explode upon the image.
The daguerreotypes above are from the studio of Matthew Brady, one of the most celebrated 19th century American photographers, best known for his portraits of celebrities and his documentation of the American Civil War which earned him the title of “father of photojournalism”. The Library of Congress received the majority of the Brady daguerreotypes as a gift from the Army War College in 1920.
That Time 150 Years Ago When Thousands of People Watched Baseball on Christmas Day…
During the Civil War, two regiments faced off as spectators, possibly as many as 40,000 sat and watched a game. On Christmas morning in South Carolina in 1862, two teams took the field for a game of what was not yet the national pastime.
The epic Christmas Day faceoff between two teams representing New York regiments stationed on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, may be one of the most significant contests in baseball’s early decades, even though it retains a whiff of mystery. Details are scarce. We don’t even know the final score. But it was played before an enormous audience: various sources say 40,000 people watched the game on Hilton Head—also known then as Port Royal—on that Christmas morning.
In November, 1861, Federal troops had seized the island, then home to 25 plantations, and never relinquished it throughout the war. About 13,500 troops came ashore in the invasion, bringing with them 1,500 horses and another 1,000 civilian construction workers who set out to create one of the most formidable military installations of the war.
Except on Christmas Day.
On that rare day off, soldiers looked for ways to relax. One way in 1862 was playing and watching baseball, New York style.
Curious History: 1860’s Victorian/Civil War Hairstyles
All women, whether children or adult, were expected to have long hair. The custom, however, was for married women to wear their hair up. As a sign of being single, young Victorian era women could wear there hair down. This was a sign that the woman was not betrothed and available for courtship. Otherwise wearing one’s hair down was for the bedroom. There were many styles that women learned to painstakingly recreate through magazines and would wear the style for weeks. The first picture is of Mary Lincoln Todd, Abraham Lincoln’s wife, wearing a very fashionable hairstyle during the Civil War era.
Pictured above are Victorian hair styles and headdresses that were highlighted in a series of 1860s photographs and magazine illustrations. A list of hairstyles and ornamentation included: a string of pansies, lilac velvet petunias, tufts of white feathers, spring curls, tortoise shell hair clips, and wreaths of white forget-me-nots.
Setting the Record straight on the Civil War Surgeon-A good surgeon could amputate a limb in under 10 minutes.
The field hospital was hell on earth. The surgeon would stand over the operating table for hours without a let up. Men screamed in delirium, calling for loved ones, Only the division’s best surgeons did the operating. The slow-moving Minie bullet used during the American Civil War caused catastrophic injuries. The two Minie bullets, for example, that struck John Bell Hood’s leg at Chickamauga destroyed 5 inches of his upper thigh bone. This left surgeons no choice but to amputate shattered limbs. They were performing a crude system of triage. The ones wounded through the head, belly, or chest were left to one side because they would most likely die. This may sound somewhat cruel or heartless, but it allowed the doctors to not waste precious time and to save those that could be saved with prompt attention. What is portrayed in “Hollywood” and in much “modern” conception of what surgery in the War was like during the war is false; anesthesia was in common and widespread use during the war…
About this photograph “Field Day.” Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine, CP 1043. Date created 1861–1865 License
Devil’s Den Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Devil’s Den got it’s name before the Civil War battle in July 1863. Supposedly locals named it after a very large snake who lived there that they were never able to capture. During the Civil War, the Confederate Army fought against the Union Army at the location, mainly soldiers from Texas and Georgia. That would explain why many visitors claim to see ghostly apparitions of Confederate soldiers there. While some don’t see the soldier’s ghosts, they do see strange lights and/or hear gunfire. Many ghost hunters have experienced camera problems in the area as well.
Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital (US Government Hospital For The Insane) located in Washington, DC.
It was opened in 1855 by the United States Congress as the US Government Hospital For The Insane. It was converted into a facility to rehabilitate wounded soldiers in The Civil War. In 1916 the name of the facility was changed to St Elizabeth’s. At its peak the facility housed over 8000 patients and had over 4000 staff but by the 1950s the population had begun to seriously decline. By the 1990’s the patient population had dropped below 1000 and facility was suffering from the years of neglect and shortages of equipment and drugs.
Apparitions of former patients have appeared. Strange noises including screams, moans and groans and phantom footsteps can be heard. A general feeling of unease and not being wanted as well as a feeling of always being watched occur. Hot and cold spots as well as shadow figures have been reported.
A Civil War photographic mystery…
The names of the two little girls are an enduring mystery, their images found among crumpled bodies on Civil War battlefields…no one knows the identities of the girls in the photographs, nor the stories they might tell. The photograph of one girl was found between the bodies of two soldiers—one Union, one Confederate, at Port Royal, VA, 150 years ago this June.