Saturday, April 25, 2009

Finding John H. Weeks

One of the cartes in my collection is a Union captain wearing the distinctive light gray uniform of the Veteran Reserve Corps. He is identified as John H. Weeks. Preliminary searches on reveal only one soldier by that name, rank and organization, and he served in the Third V.R.C.

I have found that every file for a soldier who served in the V.R.C. includes the regiment from which he left to join the Corps. Not in this case. I did some additional searching on and Google, was unable to discover his regiment of origin, and so put this project on the back burner until I could get over to the National Archives and view his full military service record with the hope it might provide a clue.

Today I received an email from Brian Downey, who found the image on my Flickr photostream. Brian recognized him as the same John H. Weeks who served in the Ninety-first Pennsylvania Infantry. He also provided a link to a page dedicated to the facts of Weeks' life and military service, including a wonderful portrait. Noticeably absent was any reference to any service in the V.R.C.

Armed with this new information, I found a volume on Google Book Search that made the connection. Page 117 of the Companions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States features a portrait of an older Weeks (about seven years before his death in 1908) with the caption "JOHN HUEY WEEKS. 1861-1865. Captaln 91st Reg. Pa. Vols. Captain 3d Reg. Vet. Res. Corps. Pennsylvanla Commandery."

The portrait is reproduced here, along with the early image from Downey's link and my carte.

I purchased this photo (from a reputable dealer) along with another carte de visite of a seated officer, his kepi on the floor, resting his head on his left arm, while in his hand he holds a letter. According to the dealer, it came from the same album and was placed on a page facing the identified Weeks image in that album. The soldier is very likely Weeks.

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