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.