1/6th Plate Melainotype of C.S.A. Lt. Colonel Gilbert Moxley Sorrel. This image dates to 1863-1864 when Sorrel was a senior officer on the staff of Lt. General James Longstreet.
He is wearing a colonel’s double-breasted gray uniform coat with three stars on the collar.
Sorrel’s kepi, however, remains regulation headgear being well-endowed with braid. His belt rig is secured with a Model 1851 Federal sword belt plate having an eagle device with an applied silver wreath.
His military career began as a private in the Georgia Hussars, an early colonial unit still active in today’s Georgia National Guard. Sorrel’s well-placed connections landed him on Longstreet’s staff at First Manassas.
He served at the general’s side for over three years, being wounded at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg. In October, 1864 Colonel Sorrel was promoted to Brigadier General. He left Longstreet to command a brigade of Georgians attached to Mahone’s Division.
General Sorrel was lightly wounded at Petersburg and returned to the field only to receive a bullet through a lung on February 7, 1865 at Hatcher’s Run. This, Sorrel’s fourth wound, effectively kept him low for the duration of the war. After Appomattox, Sorrel resumed a working patrician’s life in Savannah. His highly praised memoirs, Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, were published posthumously in 1905.