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Thread: Help in identifying soldier, unit and rank

  1. #1

    Default Help in identifying soldier, unit and rank



    This is a photo of an ancestor of mine. I've been told by someone that he was in the 76th Pennsylvania Zouaves, but I'm open to the possibility that that assessment was wrong and he could be from a different Zouave unit. I'm also trying to determine his rank - he has a single chevron on his sleeve, not the standard double chevron for a corporal. Could this be attributable to the non-standard uniforms of the early war period? I've got several possible last names he could have - the photo has no written identification with it, and the members of my family who stood a chance of ID'ing him are now all deceased. Names could be Davis or Davies (Davis is less likely- the family changed their name to Davis in the 1900s, although there could have been an earlier branch to convert as well). Reily, Reilly, and variations thereof are possible, as is Berger and variations thereof. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    That's not a rank chevron (which would appear ABOVE the elbow)....it's a veteran unit chevron ? means he was in a 3 year regiment that voted to reenlist en masse as a unit for the duration.....and received 30 days leave.

    Have you been off up to the Soldier's and Sailor's system? Ancestry. com has pension cards online..... and a search of the 1880 US Census might help.
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  3. #3
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    That sleeve stripe is simply part of the jacket trim and does not indicate rank or veteran service. The jacket does appear to the be type worn by the 76th PA; the buttons and lighter colored fabric in the center of the jacket are likely part of the false vest which in this case would have been gray. Photographs of an original 76th PA uniform can be seen at the link below.

    http://www.76thpenn.100thpenn.com/robertford.htm

    As for an ID there are several surnames from the 76th PA roll that match the names you provided. I suggest you look into the American Civil War Research Database.
    Brian White
    Wambaugh, White, & Company
    www.wwandcompany.com

  4. #4

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    Hallo!

    Yes, he would appear to be a private in the 76th "'Keystone Zouaves" as the form of the jacket appears to match theirs:



    IMHO, with so many possibilties for a name, you run a poor chance of getting further. You could run what names you have through NARA for the service (or pension records) of those possibiities, and maybe, possibly, glean enough from enlistment or muster papers to get a scrap- such as maybe where he was born or where he enlisted.
    NOT fool proof, as some times lads went to different cities or happened to be in different cities when they enlisted. And/or as a result, they often appear in regiments based in that area rather than say the one or ones that were formed in their town or city.

    I am reminded of the lyrics of '"The Green Fields of France" aka "Willie McBride:"

    "Or are you a stranger without even a name,
    Enshrined forever behind a glass pane,
    In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
    And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?"


    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Default Help in identifying soldier, unit and rank

    The Flying Camera,

    The stripe on the sleeve IS a veteran's stripe and does indicate 3 year service. Based on the uniform look and false vest under the jacket, I do believe it is a 76th PA soldier. Based on this, the soldier likely enlisted in 1861 with the original wave of 76th PA recruits. In the American Civil War Research Database, which I subscribe to, there are 13 Davis soldiers (no Davies), a Berger soldier (not likely--1864 substitute) and several Reillys (not likely again based on limited service). Based on the likelihood that the soldier enlisted 1861 and mustered out 1865, the following names are possible all of which mustered in to service 1861 and mustered out 1865:

    David Davis, Co. B, generally from Mercer Co.
    David Davis, Co. H, generally from Luzerne Co.
    George Davis, Co. C generally from Blair Co.
    James D. Davis Co. C generally from Blair Co.

    Do you have any information on what county, town and township the soldier was from? This would help narrow down the likely individual. If you give me a little more info, I can tell you what each soldier card says in the database which might narrow it down.

    Regards, David L. Welch

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by PARoundhead View Post
    The Flying Camera,

    The stripe on the sleeve IS a veteran's stripe and does indicate 3 year service.
    That is NOT a veteran's stripe. It's sewn into the seam and has a point. Worsted wool tape cuff trim. Totally. believe it.

    Great photo!

  7. #7

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    Hallo!

    Correct.

    If one's monitor is sufficient, one can see the start of the other side of the "V" trim.

    And where it comes full circle around to the lower seam where it does not quite line up with the other arm of the "V."

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Location
    Stroudsburg, Pa.
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    Link to roster.

    You've still got your work cut out for you. I just did the first two and a half companies and found one berger and three davises. Note that they are marked as coming originally from various counties. If you find a name that looks likely to you, based on a family named passed down like "Frank" or something, or geography, feel free to send me your family tree by private message as far back as you know it. Doesn't have to be precise: first and last name, town where they lived, maybe year they were born if you know it. I still have an active Ancestry account and can backtrack through census records to see if we reach any of the likely suspects. If your grandfather was born in 1928, for instance, he'd be a two-year-old in the 1930 census and it would list his mother and father and where they were from, plus their ages, so you look for them, then for their mothers and fathers, etc.
    Bill Watson
    I write about history for people who regret not being there when it happened.

    Books
    Brother William's War, Illustrated, about a Southerner's war
    The Ludlam Legacy, Illustrated, about a young Yankee orphan's war.
    Seize the Day! A best-practices guide to wringing more satisfaction from your Civil War weekend
    The Little Book of Civil War Reenacting: An introduction for those who want to try it out

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Stroudsburg, Pa.
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    And while we are on this thread, can anyone identify the gilt material of the frame? I have almost the exact same frame, the metal is as gleaming as the day it was made, even though everything else is deteriorated.
    Bill Watson
    I write about history for people who regret not being there when it happened.

    Books
    Brother William's War, Illustrated, about a Southerner's war
    The Ludlam Legacy, Illustrated, about a young Yankee orphan's war.
    Seize the Day! A best-practices guide to wringing more satisfaction from your Civil War weekend
    The Little Book of Civil War Reenacting: An introduction for those who want to try it out

  10. #10

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    Hallo!

    Case mats were NUG stamped brass or "sealed brass." (I assume with varnish, but I would expect the varnish to blacken with age a son oil paintings.)

    However, cases could cost more than the image, so it is not unusual to find gilted (gold plated) stamped brass mats. (As a result, the 10 to 25 cost of a ferrotype would see it in a paper or decorated/printed motif holder. Many of the ferrotypes we find now can are switcheroos where empty ambrotype or daguerreotype images are long gone and a dealer or seller wants to boost the value of a sale by putting a bare 'tintype' in it.

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

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