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Lot 0118 Details

Carte-de-visite (CDV) of two African-American subjects identified on the obverse as “contraband cooks” with Company “F” of the 10th Wisconsin Infantry. Verso bears the photographer’s imprint “Morse’s Gallery of the Cumberland, No. 25 Cedar St., Opposite the Commercial Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.” Print exhibits fine clarity and contrast. Mount of carte is slightly trimmed for album insertion.

During the Civil War, “contraband” was a term used to describe escaped slaves that affiliated with Union forces. These “runaways” were primarily laborers initially, but many enlisted in United States Colored Troops’ regiments once recruiting began in 1863.

While the identity of the two subjects remains unknown, a private with the 10th Wisconsin Infantry wrote home from Tennessee in early 1862 saying “we have got lots of contraband negroes in our regt. now, and there is no less than two negro hunters in camp every day hunting for negroes.“ (For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War by James M. McPherson p. 119)
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Civil War CDV of African-American “Contrabands”

Estimate $1,000 - $2,000May 17, 2020
Starting Price $100
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