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Lot 0244 Details

Description
Unpublished carte de visite (CDV) of "Opelousas Tommy," a freed slave "contraband." Tommy was liberated sometime in the Spring of 1863 by the 53rd MA Infantry in Opelousas, Louisiana. This image was discovered in an album belonging to the Chaplain of the 53rd Massachusetts. Tommy is shown here looking stoically into the camera's lens in a jacket that is perhaps a touch too big for him (he would surely grow into it!). A dog rests beside him. This portrait likely dates to late 1863 when Tommy returned to Fitchburg, MA with Dr. William Barrett (see below). Fitchburg, MA imprint on verso. Period ink inscription on front of the mount. Extraordinary view featuring a young man on the precipice of his new life. "One contraband, known as Opelousas Tommy, likely joined up with the 53rd Massachusetts in Opelousas, Louisiana, which the Yankees raided in the spring of 1863. Tommy worked as the "surgeon's boy," the personal servant of Dr. William Barrett of Fitchburg, MA. A camp favorite, fourteen-year-old Tommy accompanied Barrett back to Fitchburg after the 53rd mustered out of service in August 1863. According to the regimental history, Tommy lived in Fitchburg and Princeton. The 1865 Massachusetts Census lists a Thomas A. Littler, aged fourteen, born in Louisiana, living in Westminster, a town adjacent to Fitchburg, and residing in the household of Amos Miller and his wife. According to Henry Willis, "Tommy was afterwards a servant in Youngs Hotel, Boston, and the last the writer knew of him he was ministering to the comfort of Harvard students at Memorial Hall, Cambridge" - First Fruits of Freedom, by Janette Thomas Greenwood (pg. 102)
Buyer's Premium
  • 25%

Civil War Identified Freed Slave CDV

Estimate $1,000 - $2,000
1d
3h
3m
23s
$5005 bids
Starting Price $100
Your Maximum Bid: Secure
$550
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