Media: Slideshow

Ambrotype Portraits by Charles R. Rees

Confederate Private Edward A. Cary and His Sister Emma Cary

Private Edward A. Cary, of Company I, 44th Virginia Infantry Regiment, clasps hands with his sister Emma Cary (Mrs. J. G. Garland) in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees at the beginning of the Civil War. A notation on the back of the image states that "Edward A. Carey [sic] was killed in the battle of Port Royal, June 9, 1861."

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: 1861

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

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.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: 1861

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Confederate Surgeon Dr. Alexander Harris

Dr. Alexander Harris, a surgeon with the 15th Virginia Infantry Regiment, has a bag of medical instruments strung around his shoulder in this hand-colored ambrotype taken by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. Harris enlisted on December 5, 1862, and attended to the regiment's wounded during the battles of Suffolk, Beverly Ford, Gettysburg, and Chester Gap. 

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1862 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

A Confederate Private

A Confederate private poses with his arms crossed in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. A handwritten note inside the cased image identifies the soldier as Tomley (?) Lumpkin, who was killed during the Civil War. According to the American Civil War Research Database, the soldier might have been Bolivar, Cincinnatus, Henry T., or Theodore F. Lumpkin, all of whom were in Company K of the 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment.

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Corporal John O. Farrell

Confederate corporal John O. Farrell poses for the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees about 1862. Seventeen-year-old Farrell, a son of Irish immigrants named O'Farrell, arrived in Richmond from his hometown of Harpers Ferry on Saint Patrick's Day in 1862. He tried to enlist in the Crenshaw Battery, an artillery unit just organized in Richmond, but had to spend three days lobbying Virginia governor John Letcher and Captain Thomas Ellett of the battery before he gained admittance into the organization.

A History of Crenshaw Battery (1904), written by a former member, Private Charles P. Young, and revised by Ellett, describes the formation of the unit:

On Friday, March 14, 1862, there assembled at the wholesale warehouse of Messrs. Crenshaw & Co., on the Basin bank, between Tenth and Eleventh streets, Richmond, Va., one of the jolliest, most rollicking, fun-loving crowd of youngsters, between the ages of 16 and 25, that were ever thrown together haphazard, composed of clerks, book-keepers, salesmen, compositors, with a small sprinkling of solid business men, from Richmond, reinforced with as sturdy-looking a lot of farmer boys from the counties of Orange, Louisa, Spotsylvania and Culpeper as one generally comes across.

Crenshaw Battery became part of Pegram's Battalion, Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, and took part in forty-eight engagements and a number of skirmishes during the Civil War. Farrell served with the Crenshaw Battery for three years, until he was captured at Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865. After the war he became a doctor.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: ca. 1862

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, photography by Katherine Wetzel

Captain George Riggs Gaither of Company K, 1st Virginia Cavalry

Confederate captain George Riggs Gaither, of Company K, 1st Virginia Cavalry, rests his arm atop a book in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. Gaither's cap and an elegant dish lie on the table beside him. This full-length portrait of Gaither, which was a large-format, half-plate ambrotype, indicates the officer's high social status. Gaither, whose ancestors founded Gaithersburg, Maryland, was a captain of the Howard County Dragoons in 1861, when he refused to swear allegiance to the United States. He and other Maryland landowners, many of them slaveholders, left for Virginia, where they joined the Confederate army. On August 27, 1862, the day before the Second Battle of Manassas began, Gaither was captured at Manassas Junction by the Union army. About a month later he was released in an exchange, and the following year he went to Europe on a mission for the Confederate government. After the war Gaither became a cotton trader.

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1863

Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Three Unidentified Confederate Artillerymen

Three unidentified Confederate artillerymen pose for the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees in this hand-colored ambrotype. This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored quarter-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Private Joseph T. Rowland of Company A, 41st Virginia Infantry Regiment

Confederate private Joseph T. Rowland of Company A, 41st Virginia Infantry Regiment, poses in his uniform with epaulets, a kepi, and a pistol tucked in his belt. The Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees made this hand-colored ambrotype in 1861 or 1862.

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1862

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Woman in Mourning Dress Holding Child

A woman tentatively identified as Mrs. James Shields wears a mourning dress and a brooch that depicts a Confederate soldier. In her arms she holds a young boy, presumably her son, who wears a military cap known as a kepi. The Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees made this hand-colored ambrotype during the Civil War. The photographic image is set in a hand-painted, papier-mâché case ornamented with mother-of-pearl. The subjects' clothing and the composition of the image may indicate this was a widow commemorating her husband's death in battle. 

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored ninth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Unidentified Confederate Officer

In this hand-colored ambrotype made during the Civil War, an unidentified Confederate officer wears a dress uniform with epaulets and white gloves, and holds a drawn sword. Charles R. Rees, a Richmond studio photographer, made this image, which is now part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress. 

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Unidentified Confederate Soldier with Bowie Knife

An unidentified Confederate artillery soldier holds a large Bowie knife in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: Between 1861 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored ninth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Portrait of a Confederate Lieutenant

A Confederate lieutenant, tentatively identified as J. L. Chaffin, leans on a pillar with crutches at his side in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles S. Rees. 

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: ca. 1860

Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of The Valentine

Dora Allison, Little Miss Bonnie Blue, the light of the Confederacy

Dora Allison, age three or four, wears mourning ribbons on her shoulders in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. The title of the image, Dora Allison, Little Miss Bonnie Blue, the light of the Confederacy, comes from an inscription written on the original case, which is now lost. Dora was probably the daughter of James W. Allison of Company C, 25th Virginia Infantry Battalion. According to the 1870 census, she was living with David and Jane Moore in Richmond, and the 1880 census listed her as the adopted daughter of J. E. (probably Jane) Moore. Doran may have been orphaned during the Civil War.

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress. According to a member of the Liljenquist family Rees created images like this one "so that we would forever remember the true cost of this war."

Original Author: Charles R. Rees

Created: ca. 1862–1863

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

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  • Confederate Private Edward A. Cary and His Sister Emma Cary

    Private Edward A. Cary, of Company I, 44th Virginia Infantry Regiment, clasps hands with his sister Emma Cary (Mrs. J. G. Garland) in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees at the beginning of the Civil War. A notation on the back of the image states that "Edward A. Carey [sic] was killed in the battle of Port Royal, June 9, 1861."

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: 1861

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • 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.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: 1861

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Confederate Surgeon Dr. Alexander Harris

    Dr. Alexander Harris, a surgeon with the 15th Virginia Infantry Regiment, has a bag of medical instruments strung around his shoulder in this hand-colored ambrotype taken by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. Harris enlisted on December 5, 1862, and attended to the regiment's wounded during the battles of Suffolk, Beverly Ford, Gettysburg, and Chester Gap. 

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1862 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • A Confederate Private

    A Confederate private poses with his arms crossed in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. A handwritten note inside the cased image identifies the soldier as Tomley (?) Lumpkin, who was killed during the Civil War. According to the American Civil War Research Database, the soldier might have been Bolivar, Cincinnatus, Henry T., or Theodore F. Lumpkin, all of whom were in Company K of the 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment.

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Corporal John O. Farrell

    Confederate corporal John O. Farrell poses for the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees about 1862. Seventeen-year-old Farrell, a son of Irish immigrants named O'Farrell, arrived in Richmond from his hometown of Harpers Ferry on Saint Patrick's Day in 1862. He tried to enlist in the Crenshaw Battery, an artillery unit just organized in Richmond, but had to spend three days lobbying Virginia governor John Letcher and Captain Thomas Ellett of the battery before he gained admittance into the organization.

    A History of Crenshaw Battery (1904), written by a former member, Private Charles P. Young, and revised by Ellett, describes the formation of the unit:

    On Friday, March 14, 1862, there assembled at the wholesale warehouse of Messrs. Crenshaw & Co., on the Basin bank, between Tenth and Eleventh streets, Richmond, Va., one of the jolliest, most rollicking, fun-loving crowd of youngsters, between the ages of 16 and 25, that were ever thrown together haphazard, composed of clerks, book-keepers, salesmen, compositors, with a small sprinkling of solid business men, from Richmond, reinforced with as sturdy-looking a lot of farmer boys from the counties of Orange, Louisa, Spotsylvania and Culpeper as one generally comes across.

    Crenshaw Battery became part of Pegram's Battalion, Third Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, and took part in forty-eight engagements and a number of skirmishes during the Civil War. Farrell served with the Crenshaw Battery for three years, until he was captured at Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865. After the war he became a doctor.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: ca. 1862

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, photography by Katherine Wetzel

  • Captain George Riggs Gaither of Company K, 1st Virginia Cavalry

    Confederate captain George Riggs Gaither, of Company K, 1st Virginia Cavalry, rests his arm atop a book in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. Gaither's cap and an elegant dish lie on the table beside him. This full-length portrait of Gaither, which was a large-format, half-plate ambrotype, indicates the officer's high social status. Gaither, whose ancestors founded Gaithersburg, Maryland, was a captain of the Howard County Dragoons in 1861, when he refused to swear allegiance to the United States. He and other Maryland landowners, many of them slaveholders, left for Virginia, where they joined the Confederate army. On August 27, 1862, the day before the Second Battle of Manassas began, Gaither was captured at Manassas Junction by the Union army. About a month later he was released in an exchange, and the following year he went to Europe on a mission for the Confederate government. After the war Gaither became a cotton trader.

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1863

    Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Three Unidentified Confederate Artillerymen

    Three unidentified Confederate artillerymen pose for the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees in this hand-colored ambrotype. This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored quarter-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Private Joseph T. Rowland of Company A, 41st Virginia Infantry Regiment

    Confederate private Joseph T. Rowland of Company A, 41st Virginia Infantry Regiment, poses in his uniform with epaulets, a kepi, and a pistol tucked in his belt. The Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees made this hand-colored ambrotype in 1861 or 1862.

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1862

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Woman in Mourning Dress Holding Child

    A woman tentatively identified as Mrs. James Shields wears a mourning dress and a brooch that depicts a Confederate soldier. In her arms she holds a young boy, presumably her son, who wears a military cap known as a kepi. The Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees made this hand-colored ambrotype during the Civil War. The photographic image is set in a hand-painted, papier-mâché case ornamented with mother-of-pearl. The subjects' clothing and the composition of the image may indicate this was a widow commemorating her husband's death in battle. 

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored ninth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Unidentified Confederate Officer

    In this hand-colored ambrotype made during the Civil War, an unidentified Confederate officer wears a dress uniform with epaulets and white gloves, and holds a drawn sword. Charles R. Rees, a Richmond studio photographer, made this image, which is now part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress. 

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Unidentified Confederate Soldier with Bowie Knife

    An unidentified Confederate artillery soldier holds a large Bowie knife in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: Between 1861 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored ninth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Portrait of a Confederate Lieutenant

    A Confederate lieutenant, tentatively identified as J. L. Chaffin, leans on a pillar with crutches at his side in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles S. Rees. 

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: ca. 1860

    Medium: Hand-colored half-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of The Valentine

  • Dora Allison, Little Miss Bonnie Blue, the light of the Confederacy

    Dora Allison, age three or four, wears mourning ribbons on her shoulders in this hand-colored ambrotype made by the Richmond photographer Charles R. Rees. The title of the image, Dora Allison, Little Miss Bonnie Blue, the light of the Confederacy, comes from an inscription written on the original case, which is now lost. Dora was probably the daughter of James W. Allison of Company C, 25th Virginia Infantry Battalion. According to the 1870 census, she was living with David and Jane Moore in Richmond, and the 1880 census listed her as the adopted daughter of J. E. (probably Jane) Moore. Doran may have been orphaned during the Civil War.

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress. According to a member of the Liljenquist family Rees created images like this one "so that we would forever remember the true cost of this war."

    Original Author: Charles R. Rees

    Created: ca. 1862–1863

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress