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Civil War photos: Help sought to solve old mystery

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posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 03:33 PM
Ok, Im not quite sure where to put this, so I put it here in the Gray Area. I think this is an interesting article and would be excited to see some of our great minds put to work here to try to help solve this mystery (I know that many of you have the knowledge and expertise, and the patience to do this). It would be nice to see someone solve this and possibly bring someone some closure. I admit that most people wouldn't want to waste time on a 150 year old mystery, but it would be interesting to do some searching into it.

The names of the two little girls are an enduring mystery, their images found among crumpled bodies on Civil War battlefields. Each is posed primly on chairs, ringlets cascading past the rouged cheeks of one, the other dressed in a frilly hoop dress. But no one knows the identities of the girls in the photographs, or 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. The other was retrieved from a slain Union soldier's haversack in 1865 on a Virginia farm field days before a half-decade of blood-letting would end with a surrender signed not far away at Appomattox. Though photography was in its infancy when the war broke out, its use was widespread. Many soldiers carried photographs of loved ones into battle and for the first time, photographic images of war were available — and the Museum of the Confederacy has its own vast collection of images today, many of them identified. But now museum officials are releasing the unidentified images of the two girls, along with six other enigmatic photographs, on the admittedly remote chance someone might recognize a familial resemblance or make a connection to a battlefield where they were found.

We don't know who they are and the people who picked them up did not know who they were," said Ann Drury Wellford, curator of 6,000 Civil War images at the Richmond museum that has the largest collection of artifacts of the Confederate states, civilian and military. "They evoke an utter and complete sentimentality." Museum officials can only speculate on the children and adults, including soldiers, shown in the photographs. But whether they were sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, or siblings the prospect of identifying each grows dimmer with the passage of time. Typically they were found by another soldier and handed down through generations. Ultimately an attic would be cleared or a trunk would be emptied and the photo would be given to the museum. Some have been in the museum's possession for 60 years or more.

"You have these guys out their killing each other and all sorts of bloodshed and he's carrying a picture of a little girl," Welllford said. "It shows the humanity." Museum officials said, even 150 years later, it remains important to return the photos to families who had a link to the Civil War. The two girls, they said, still evoke powerful emotions. "You think about these little girls at home and their daddies never return and they don't know what happened to them," said Sam Craghead, a spokesman for the museum. "It's just a really, really human story."

source -
edit on 11-6-2012 by Veritas1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 03:48 PM
reply to post by Veritas1

edit on 11-6-2012 by Veritas1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 03:53 PM

Originally posted by Veritas1
reply to post by Veritas1

Um, so I take it that this will take much more work than most are willing to give? Come on ATS....I guess writing oneliners and smarmy replies is the only thing that works here? I guess this one went over the heads of most. Sorry then. Good day to you all, and peace to you.

You just posted this thread. Patience is not one of your virtues, I see. With your attitude, don't be surprised if a few more people choose not to get involved in your thread.....sheesh....


posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 03:57 PM
reply to post by Destinyone

you are right, I am sorry. Your wisdom is greatly appreciated. I apoligize.
edit on 11-6-2012 by Veritas1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 04:02 PM
reply to post by Veritas1

I've been surfing around the various links from the yahoo link in your OP. Some very interesting stuff I had no clue on.

Is there a gallery of all the photos of the unidentified people we can see? I'll look again....


posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 04:09 PM
reply to post by Veritas1

Hi Veritas,

I must admit, I'm kind of taken aback by your 2nd post here.

The original post is inviting people to solve the "mystery" of identifying 2 young girls from old civil war photos?
There appears to be no real data available on who was actually carrying these?
It was noted that one photo was found "between the bodies of two soldiers", but their identities were not noted??

I'm fairly sure, given the age of the subjects in the photos, that they were probably the children of the dead soldiers, so it would seem logical to look in that direction first, but how on earth do you expect anyone to solve this within 15 minutes of first posting it here?? Given the numbers of soldiers involved, and the lack of information available regarding the identities of them.
( It was 15 minutes before you posted your, quite frankly, insulting and condescending, 2nd post.)

Are you just looking for someone to "accept" the challenge of solving the mystery in due course?
I have a feeling that it would take quite a bit longer than that to take, even a cursory preliminary look at the possibility of solving this.

Anyway, good luck with the hunt, but it seems to me to be a difficult and somewhat fruitless exercise.


PS - maybe not a good idea to "have a go" at the people that you are inviting to help you with solving your mystery within 15 mins of posting?

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 04:41 PM
The pic your interested in?


Unlikely to find who this is unless somebody else has got a simmilar photo and they see thi and recognise it.

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 04:42 PM
I can make a guess at the figure at top center and top right in the group pictures - center looks like a uniform of the Wisconsin Iron Brigade, early issue. Top right is definitely a cavalryman, possibly one of the partisan ranger outfits such as John Singleton Mosby's.
The museum of the Confederacy is one of my old haunts where I spent many hours doing research for various projects and sometimes just for fun. Always worth a visit if you're in Richmond, parking is a pain and you will get towed if you park illegally, fyi.

posted on Jun, 11 2012 @ 04:58 PM
I really apoligize for the 2nd post. I am, however looking forward to possibly working some of you to help solve this. I thought it would be something fun (as I know that many of you have very good logic and problem solving skills). In my zeal, I inadvertently may have alienated some. Im sorry for my remarks about the one liners and smarmy replies. I have to quit thinking negatively.

posted on Nov, 23 2012 @ 10:57 PM
Archaeologists made a massive discovery of civil war artifacts at a location in Fredericksburg, VA, while researching a site for a new courtcouse. The charred remnants of the building prove that it was burned to the ground, and the crew believes it burned just after the soldiers left, as the structure does not appear in a photo taken the following spring. The crew had searched for property records prior to digging, but prior to 1886, no records of a building existing on that site were found.

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