Civil War Photos: Help Museum Solve Old Mystery

Museum of the Confederacy seeks public's help in identifying photos

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 11, 2012 7:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – The names of the two little girls are an enduring mystery, their images found among crumpled bodies on Civil War battlefields. Each is posed primly on chairs, ringlets cascading past the rouged cheeks of one, the other dressed in a frilly hoop dress. But no one knows their identities of the girls in the photographs, nor the stories they might tell. The photograph of one girl was found between the bodies of two soldiers—one Union, one Confederate, at Port Royal, Va., 150 years ago this June.

The other was retrieved from a slain Union soldier's haversack in 1865 on a Virginia farm field days before a half-decade of blood-letting would end with a surrender signed not far away at Appomattox. Now officials at the Museum of the Confederacy are releasing the unidentified images of the two girls, along with six other enigmatic photographs, on the admittedly remote chance someone might recognize a familial resemblance or make a connection to a battlefield where they were found. "They evoke an utter and complete sentimentality," said one curator at the Richmond museum.

Ann Drury Wellford, manager of Photographic Services for The Museum of the Confederacy, a Civil War battlefield photos at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.
Ann Drury Wellford, manager of Photographic Services for The Museum of the Confederacy, a Civil War battlefield photos at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.   (Steve Helber)
This ambrotype image provided by the Museum of the Confederacy shows an unidentified woman that was found in the effects of a soldier identified as Joseph Warren during the Civil War.
This ambrotype image provided by the Museum of the Confederacy shows an unidentified woman that was found in the effects of a soldier identified as Joseph Warren during the Civil War.   (AP Photo/The Museum of the Confederacy)
This photo provided by the Museum of the Confederacy shows a tin-type photograph of an unidentified man.
This photo provided by the Museum of the Confederacy shows a tin-type photograph of an unidentified man.   (AP Photo/The Museum of the Confederacy)
Ann Drury Wellford, manager of photographic services for The Museum of the Confederacy, poses with images of unidentified persons found on a Civil War battlefield, at the museum in Richmond, Va.
Ann Drury Wellford, manager of photographic services for The Museum of the Confederacy, poses with images of unidentified persons found on a Civil War battlefield, at the museum in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Ann Drury Wellford, manager of Photographic Services for The Museum of the Confederacy, holds a Civil War  battlefield photo at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.
Ann Drury Wellford, manager of Photographic Services for The Museum of the Confederacy, holds a Civil War battlefield photo at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.   (Steve Helber)
A group of seven Civil War battlefield photos at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.
A group of seven Civil War battlefield photos at the museum in Richmond, Va., Friday, May 25, 2012.   (Steve Helber)
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