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Friday, January 4, 2013

Civil War Photo Friday: William T. Biedler, 16 years old

This young rebel is William T. Biedler, who had his picture taken at just sixteen years of age. He was in Company C of Mosby's Virginia Cavalry Regiment.

I suspect this was taken at the beginning of the war because he's armed with an antiquated flintlock musket. Both sides, especially the rebels, had chronic supply problems and some men had to go to battle with inferior weapons or no weapons at all. They picked up better weapons from the dead or captured as soon as possible and it's doubtful that Biedler would have carried his flintlock beyond the first year of the war.

Compare this with the photo of Jesse James as a Confederate bushwhacker at the same age. There's quite a difference!


Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

4 comments:

  1. Compared to Jesse, this one still looks like a child.

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  2. Very young indeed. I wonder if he survived the war?

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    Replies
    1. He did survive and lived to be an old man.

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  3. He was carrying a flintlock not because of antiquated arms, but because when this pic was taken, he was in the 97th Virginia Militia, in 1861.Militia units (and this unit was disbanded early in 62, by order of Jackson) were not high on the list for better arms. Also, this may or may not have been an "issue" piece. The flintlocks were either pre-war issue (as this particular militia unit existed as early as the 1850s) or it was a photographer's piece.

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