Sunday, February 08, 2009

Confederate Faces Reviewed by Fort Sumter Historian

Richard W. Hatcher, the historian of the Fort Sumter National Monument, reviewed Faces of the Confederacy for the The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C. The complete review is available on the newspaper's website,

Hatcher ends the review by capturing an essential element that drives my interest in these citizen soldiers, "Coddington reveals the human face of a war fought by fathers, husbands, sons and brothers. Their faces provide a compelling and tangible link with some of the men who 'wore the gray.'"

One of the men in gray that likely caught Mr. Hatcher's attention is Capt. Francis Huger Harleston of the First South Carolina Artillery. A member of the Citadel's Class of 1860, Harleston spent most of the war defending Fort Sumter. The young South Carolinian's complete profile appears in Faces of the Confederacy, and is illustrated with a carte de visite portrait from the collection of William A. Turner.

I learned an interesting bit of information about cartes de visite from Mr. Hatcher, who noted, "Twenty-five of them could be purchased for $1, roughly $160 in today's currency." While the carte de visite is recognized for democratizing portrait photography in part by offering more affordable prices compared to earlier formats, clearly a photograph was still an investment.

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