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Southern Volunteer William "Willie" White

Discussion in 'Period Photograph Examinations' started by James N., Mar 3, 2013.

  1. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
    Annual Winner

    Feb 23, 2013
    East Texas

    I purchased this sixth - plate ambrotype directly from a descendant here in the North Texas area some twenty - five years ago; unfortunately, all she knew of him was that he was known to her as "Uncle Willie" and supposedly had been a Confederate soldier. Other than the obvious and typically Confederate frame buckle and the enormous plug hat someone here has already commented on, the most remarkable things about Willie are his NAME apparently inked or carved into his cartridge box strap, W White - and his CORDOURY jacket! It doesn't show up too well in these pictures, but "in person" the vertical and period "wide-wale" corduroy texture is quite evident. He hasn't bothered to reverse anything for the camera other than holding his apparent M.1842 musket in his left hand.

    Soon after acquiring this image I had it copied and submitted to Lawrence Jones' Confederate Calendar, where it was published as the photo for August, 1989. Here is what he had to say about "Uncle Willie":


    I recently tried scanning the ambrotype out-of-the-case but with only fair results, but in case you'd like to see it too, here it is:

    Uncle Willie scan.jpg

    I have scanned the emulsion side, resulting in a positive image because the scan of the actual front of the plate was blurred due to the scanner's inability to focus! In the calander page above, Jones also reversed the 8 X 10 B&W print I submitted just so the name would be even more obvious.

    I'd like to ask if, in the passage of a quarter - century and proliferation of research tools such as the Internet here, if ANYONE has seen anything similar to Willie's corduroy "uniform"? Although Jones rightly ( writing in 1989 ) declared him to be unidentifiable as to unit or state, due to the proliferation of the common name William White, I wonder if there aren't some clues apparent now vs. then; any informed speculation would be most welcome!
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015

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  3. noman

    noman First Sergeant

    Sep 18, 2011

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