We just scanned this great tintype of Samuel Blythe at age 19. In the summer of 1861 he was a newly enlisted member of the Thirteenth Missouri Infantry, which in 1862 was rechristened the Twenty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry. It's possible this is a "borrowed" uniform for the photo, as some things don't look quite right. Perhaps a Civil War expert can weigh in on that.
Blythe fought at Fort Donelson, then Pittsburg Landing, the siege of Corinth, the battle of Corinth and various skirmishes. In the spring of 1863 he was at Vicksburg. In 1865 his company was stationed just outside the arsenal, providing security during the execution of the Lincoln conspirators. He mustered out in February 1866.
A few technical notes: This tintype was housed in a metal case with an oval glass-covered opening, but Matt removed it so you can see parts of the image which have been hidden for 150 years. Tintypes usually reverse the image as a mirror does. To make matters more confusing, the "E" on his cap seems to be pinned on backwards, and his belt buckle is actually upside down. I imagine this photo studio (probably in St. Louis) rushed the recruits through rather quickly, giving them just a minute or two to don the uniform that fit the best and strike a pose in front of the painted background. While the resulting image may be formulaic, it's an amazing window into time. Could he begin to imagine the life that lay before him? Here he is more than 60 years later.
The insignia on his hat is definitely one of the ones used in infantry. The E would indicate the company he was in.
His coat is definitely a "sack" coat which was used. This appears to me that this is his dress uniform. It would be a very warm item, as it was made of wood. It would have been a dark blue, and the pants also wool were a light blue.
That is his cartridge case on the left side of the photo.
I can not really determine what that is hanging down on his left side. It looks somewhat like a sabre scabbard, but infantry did not carry sabres.
One thing I will say is that to own an original photo of a Civil War soldier is a real treasure as they sell for a great deal of money. I am fortunate to have inherited one that was my great-great uncle.
charlott on 30th August 2013 @ 7:20am
Makes you wish you could have met him.
He was in the war for the full four years and then some.
What did they use to rouge the cheeks in these old photos?
l.e. on 30th August 2013 @ 7:33am
Someone with a lot of talent painted that back drop.
I would say that this photo was more than likely taken prior to him seeing action. He looks too robust to have marched endless miles in all types of weather conditions, eaten none quality food, and not had quality rest. I have seen photos of men taken at the beginning of the war and then another one taken two or three years later. Wouldn't in some cases know it was the same man.
He probably had the same take as many men did, that this was all going to be over in a matter of days as the southern men wouldn't fight. Little did he know......
charlott on 30th August 2013 @ 8:02am
If you go back a few days and look at the other portrait of him you can see that here he has the boyish look, fuller face, etc. In the other which was no doubt taken soon after the war he looks much different with a more slender face and probably more serious as he had to really grow up. One day a young man and the next day "a mean fighting machine."
Charlott on 30th August 2013 @ 8:08am
Blythe was in Company E of the 22nd Ohio. He would have enlisted for a three year term, probably hoping the war would be over. At the end of that three year period he apparently elected to re-enlist into the 2nd Ohio Veterans Regiment. Many men did this, as in some instances there was a bounty offered for re-enlistment. I don't know that it was the case in his particular situation. In some areas a $300 bounty was offered for enlistment. That was a huge amount of money in those days and a man with a family could certainly use it.
Sadly, like so many things where money is involved, men would enlist, then soon after desert, go somewhere else and re-enlist using another name. Hard to keep track of these "bounty jumpers."
charlott on 30th August 2013 @ 8:14am
Happy Veterans day Grandpal
Deena Gayle Blythe on 11th November 2016 @ 7:19am
Deena Gayle Blythe on 11th November 2016 @ 7:35pm