A REMARKABLE AND VERY RARE VINTAGE ALBUMEN PHOTOGRAPH OF GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT AND HIS STAFF SOON AFTER THEIR DEVASTATING DEFEAT AT COLD HARBOR.
The photograph, by Mathew Brady (or his associates), shows Grant in his camp standing slightly to the left of center, looking to his left, surrounded by members of his staff including:
-General John A. Rawlins, Grant’s aide-de-damp, and (informally) Grant’s chief war-time confidante and defender;
-Lieutenant Colonel Ely S. Parker, Tonawanda Senecan who wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox and later served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs
-Colonel Adam Badeau, who would later write an important three-volume biography of Grant;
-General John G. Barnard, Chief Engineer of the armies in the field;
-Major William Babcock, who a few months later would be the first to enter the Confederate lines during the Fall of Peterrsburg;
-Lieutenant Colonel William L. Duff; Lieutenant Colonel Theodore S. Bowers, and others.
Also, significantly, there are African-American men visible in the background of the image; as the war progressed, Grant became known for being very supportive of African-American troops.
The photograph dates from June 1864, just after the newly appointed general-in-chief Grant and his Army of the Potomac was soundly defeated by Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Cold Harbor. The Battle of Cold Harbor marked a turning point in the war - it was the final victory for Lee and Lee’s most dominant victory in terms of casualties.
The camp depicted has been variously identified as either Grant’s camp at Cold Harbor immediately after the battle, or at nearby City Point, where Grant soon set up the headquarters where he would conduct his decisive siege of Richmond and Petersburg ultimately leading to the end of the war.
With Mathew Brady’s imprint (“Brady / Washington”) in the bottom border: “Under Brady’s name appeared an eye-level chronicle of the war in pictures, showing the soldiers and their leaders, the bridges, the battlefields, the military camps, the locations where the sons of the North met the sons of the South. The camera technology of the day did not allow for images of men doing battle, but the aftermath could be captured on film at the era’s slow shutter speeds” (American National Biography).
The glass-plate negative of this print is at the U.S. National Archives. Early albumen printings of the image are extremely rare.
Cold Harbor/City Point, VA. June, 1864. Albumen photograph with Brady imprint. 4.75x8.0 inches. Matted and framed to an overall size of 11x14 inches. Not examined out of frame. The image is in remarkably fine condition - strong and unfaded - with only a few tiny spots of flaking.
A POWERFUL AND EVOCATIVE IMAGE OF GRANT AND HIS STAFF IN THE FIELD AT ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS OF THE WAR. IN OUTSTANDING CONDITION.
Price: $12,500 .