Member of the Lynchburg Rifles, Company E, 11th Virginia Infantry Volunteers
An unidentified member of the Lynchburg Rifles poses for a photograph in his unit's official uniform—a gray hunting shirt, with a dark blue collar, cuffs, and shirt front (known as a plastron). He is fully equipped with a model 1841 Mississippi rifle, a Sheffield-style Bowie knife, a canteen, a box-framed knapsack, and a blanket roll covered in oil cloth. The Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees took this hand-colored ambrotype in 1861, the year the militia unit was organized by faculty and students at Lynchburg College and became Company E, 11th Virginia Infantry in the Confederate army. The commanding officer of the company, Captain James E. Blankenship, was a mathematics professor at Lynchburg College. Though Blankenship had graduated at the top of his class at the Virginia Military Institute in 1852, his nerve failed when tested in battle. During the First Battle of Manassas he fled in the middle of the fighting.
This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.