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Friday, September 14, 2012
Civil War Photo Friday: Confederate Cavalryman or Bushwhacker?
I came across this curious photo in the Library of Congress online archive. The caption says this guy is an "unidentified cavalry soldier in Confederate uniform with slant breech Sharps carbine, two knives, and two revolvers."
This is not, however, a regulation uniform. The shirt looks about right except for the decoration on the front and breast pocket. The hat is also nonregulation. In addition, few Confederate cavalry were armed with the Sharps carbine, with only about 5,000 being produced in the South.
So is this really a Confederate cavalryman? As I've mentioned frequently on this blog, rebel uniforms often varied quite a bit because of shortages and the men supplying their own clothes. So this odd-looking fellow could indeed be a cavalryman.
There's another possibility. He may be a bushwhacker. These guerrilla warriors often went heavily armed with multiple weapons. They also liked wearing decorated "guerrilla shirts", a subject I'll delve into further in a post next week.
Whoever he is, I'm glad I didn't have to face him in battle!