Web Faces of War




About the cover carte

The cover image selected by The Johns Hopkins University Press is 1st Sgt. Octavius McFarland of the Sixty-second U.S. Colored Infantry. His story appears on pages 190-192 in the book. The choice of this carte de visite contrasts with Union Faces, which features an unidentified soldier to represent the millions of volunteers who served. Although this portrait is of a known soldier, 1st Sgt. McFarland's likeness is representative of the roughly 200,000 men of color who enlisted in the Union army and navy after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.

The vast majority of these men, including McFarland, were born in bondage. He gained his freedom the moment he enlisted.

McFarland sits before a unknown photographer dressed in his uniform and sporting what appears to be a non-military hat.

This wonderful portrait is part of the collection of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum. I happened to see this image during a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield museum in 2008. I knew instantly that McFarland's likeness would make a great book jacket. The following year I made arrangements with museum staff to get a high-resolution digital scan for the book. In 2012, I suggested this image and a few others to the designers at The Johns Hopkins University Press as candidates for the jacket. I was thrilled to discover that they had made this choice.


Cover carte Confederate

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