Private John Wesley Knott holding a Spencer rifle

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civilwarincolor

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OK, I have to admit some bias on this image. This is the image I am using for my avatar and is my GGG Grandfather. He was a private in Company A, Sixth North Carolina State Troops.

According to the records I found he enlisted on September 15, 1862 and his unit participated at Antietam on the 17th. I would be surprised if he personally had managed to make it from North Carolina to Maryland in two days, but I do know that he did participate at Gettysburg the following year. In November of 1863 he was captured at Rappahannock Station and basically set out the rest of the war being paroled in February of 1865 and showing on the hospital muster role on March.

I had done this image before from a scan of the image that had been uploaded by Bruce Zigler, also a descendant of Knott and a distant relation to me. Last year he contacted me and had seen the color version that I was using as my avatar. I asked him if he had a larger scan and he was kind enough to send one to me.
The larger version though had the same issues with the missing portion of the rifle. I had done some of the restoration work, but really had wanted to be able to have the entire rifle showing. With the end of the barrel missing I put the project aside till this week.

What I decided to do was to find an image of the Spencer rifle he is holding and overlay it onto the B&W. With it enlarged to the proper size and turned to match the angle I traced the outline of the rifle and then carefully copied the missing portions from the existing rifle out to the end of the gun. I also traced out the butt of the rifle so that I had the proper size and shape for that as well.

Overall I am happy with the results and decided to show the various versions, the B&W I had used for my original avatar, a color version that Bruce Zigler had done a few years ago, my original avatar version and finally my current version of the image.

Please let me know what you think.

The B&W version used for my original avatar:

john_knott.jpg


Color version done by Bruce Zigler (descendant of Knott)
Knott_Zigler.jpg


Color version I used for my original avatar:
Knott_1.jpg


Larger version with restoration to the rifle:
John_W_Knott_w.jpg
 

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Private Watkins

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In the last, latest version, did you add a patch box to the stock, or is that just a gray shadow...? If the image is reversed, and based on the hammer being on opposite near-body side, the patch box may have been on the side of stock near his body... Not sure, maybe some of the firearms experts here can weigh-in...
 

civilwarincolor

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Terrific work, thanks for sharing with us...!

Do you think that's a Model 1859 Sharps?
Not sure what year it is. The rifle has not survived in the family, not even sure if it belonged to him or was just a photographers prop.

In the last, latest version, did you add a patch box to the stock, or is that just a gray shadow...? If the image is reversed, and based on the hammer being on opposite near-body side, the patch box may have been on the side of stock near his body... Not sure, maybe some of the firearms experts here can weigh-in...
Hmm, good point I think you are right. I should have thought of that. I put in the patch box because I could see where it belonged when I overlaid the rifle. If you look at the buttons on the uniform they are backwards. I kind of like having it though, need to see if I want to keep it or make it correct to the image.

Here is the rifle that I used to do my overlay with: (minus the scope)
Sharps-Rifle-Model-1859-with-Telescope-No-Watermark.jpg
 

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civilwarincolor

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All of them are amazing! Personally I like the last one best. The muted background is much better than the blueish or green one. It highlights your ancestor more in the photograph whereas the brighter colors distract ever so slightly from the main image.
I agree, when I did my original version I had used the blue background because that is what was correct for Brady Studio's, but I highly doubt that Brady (or any Northern photographer) had anything to do with this image. If it was done in the field it was probably a piece of canvas hung behind the subject so I tried to do something like that. I also had to play with his uniform color though, my first one was more of a true butternut color which tended to be too close to what I wanted for the background. Basically what I ended up doing was swapping the color of the pants with the color of the jacket so that I could show the contrast between the jacket and pants and between the jacket and background.
 
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Hi, First I appreciate your project to complete the image. Just to clarify the rifle. It is a 1859 Sharps not a Spencer. The image is a reverse view of the left side of the Sharps. Not to be critical of your reconstruction, but the front sight appears to be wrong. The image appears as a large object as opposed to the smaller blade on a Sharps. Also the patch box would be on the right side of the stock. So for a truly more realistic photo,I would remove it. Great impressive image.
 
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civilwarincolor

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Hi, First I appreciate your project to complete the image. Just to clarify the rifle. It is a 1859 Sharps not a Spencer. The image is a reverse view of the left side of the Sharps. Not to be critical of your reconstruction, but the front sight appears to be wrong. The image appears as a large object as opposed to the smaller blade on a Sharps. Also the patch box would be on the right side of the stock. So for a truly more realistic photo,I would remove it. Great impressive image.
Thanks so much, as I said already I believe you are correct on the mirror image and rifle being from the wrong side.

I am curious though as to what the sight should look like. I used the version I showed above as the outline (minus scope). What should it have looked like for this image?
 
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Hi, Regarding the front sight. I just took a quick search (Sharps 1859 Rifle) in the Weapons & Ammo forum section and found a few posting with photos. If this is not useful for your purpose, contact me in a message with your email and I will email you photos of mine rifle or from my books.
 
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civilwarincolor

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Hi, Regarding the front sight. I just took a quick search (Sharps 1859 Rifle) in the Weapons & Ammo forum section and found a few posting with photos. If this is not useful for your purpose, contact me in a message with your email and I will email you photos of mine rifle or from my books.
Thanks, so more like this one?

Expired Image Removed
 
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I just took another quick search. The post showing Private Domag's Sharps, refer to the first photos in the post as the lower photos are of a Navy version with bayonet lug. The Army version used a socket bayonet so no lug should be added to your photo.
 
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I guess we just posted at the same time. Yes that is it. I'm guessing you picked up the large sight which was probably a support for the front end of the scope. Photo shows the patch box on the right side of stock as well as the hammer being on the right side of receiver. Hope that helps.
 
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civilwarincolor

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I guess we just posted at the same time. Yes that is it. I'm guessing you picked up the large sight which was probably a support for the front end of the scope. Photo shows the patch box on the right side of stock as well as the hammer being on the right side of receiver. Hope that helps.
Thanks, how does this look?

John_W_Knott_w2.jpg
 

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MRB1863

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Great job! You are so fortunate to have that photo of your GGGrandfather. Been looking for a photo that I can prize of a CW relative for many years without success. Have several who were enlisted in the Union, and much information on them...but sadly no photo to date. Still have hope, though.
 
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