Gardner, Alexander, Warrenton, Virginia. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside and Staff. Union Army encampment photograph, taken November 1862. An albumen print, carte-de-visite size, 8 ½ cm x 6 ½ cm, horizontal image, mounted slightly on a piece of nineteenth century ledger paper. Twelve of the general staff officers have been identified below the image by name, with penciled lines drawn to identify them precisely. On the verso of the photograph is the number “1049” and the penciled names of officers in the image and possible recipients of copies of this image: “O. Willcox / L. Richmond / A. P …”. The identifications and annotations were made by Bvt. Maj. L. C. Brackett, ADC to Maj. Gen. Orlando B. Willcox.
The envelope from the old Grand Union Hotel, which still holds this image, stood opposite New York’s original “Grand Central Depot,” also bears the inked annotation: “Artist Taylor’s Burnside Staff.” It is presumed Taylor was one of several assisting field photographers working for Alexander Gardner on the Burnside Staff. The upper left-hand corner shows flaws in the photographic paper. Slight evidence of glue residue on the sides of the verso. There are a few small identifying numbers in ink on the image. It is possible this field print of this vintage Civil War image was dismounted while it was still wet, then used to record the identities of the sitters.
There is the extraordinary face of a small African American boy peering out from the back row, between Maj. Gen. John G. Parke and Maj. W. H. French. (Other officers identified were: Brig. Gen. Charles G. Loring; Bvt. Maj. Gen. Orlando B. Willcox; Col. Lewis Richmond; Lieut. Col. R.H.I. Goddard; Capt. D. Archie Pell; Capt. George E. Goodrich; Bvt. Maj. George R. Fearing. One of the men in the photograph (“4”) is Alexander Gardner, himself. This man is identified as “Gardiner.” This is a misspelling of Gardner, as there was no “Gardiner” listed in the roster of The Society of the Burnside Expedition and of the Ninth Army Corps.) Despite the above-mentioned mount annotations, the overall condition is remarkably good. This is the same image as LC Call Number: LC-B817-7186, but one obviously produced during the Civil War and developed in Alexander Gardner’s mobile dark room in 1862.