Pipe-smoking, baby-faced Sergeant

Guest blogpost: Ron Coddington | Publisher of Military Images Magazine

PIPE-SMOKING, BABY-FACED SERGEANT.—This freckle-faced unidentified youngster seems impossibly young to be a soldier. But collector and author Mike Cunningham is convinced that he is, and notes, “He has the smooth skin of a teenager, but the tired and wary eyes of a veteran campaigner.”

Mike’s observations about the sergeant’s uniform supports his conclusion. “He is wearing a standard Federal issue 1858 pattern fatigue blouse that appears to be hand sewn in places. That is the reason that interior pocket does not follow the familiar kidney shape. A curve is easy to execute with a sewing machine, but awkward when sewing by hand.” The pants and the overcoat also appear to be standard.

He appears to be carrying something in that blouse pocket—perhaps a satchel of tobacco for that pipe!

A folded-up newspaper article that accompanies the image dates to about 1868. The subject of the article is Rev. Albert Barnes, who was fairly well known for his abolitionist views during the war. How the article and the photo are connected is a mystery.

The photographer is Frank Rowell of Providence, R.I.

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