Unbound. Four black and white photographs, each measuring 6.75” x 4.5”, mounted on stiff cardboard, measuring 6.5” x 5.5”, with three holes in the left margins indicating they might once have been contained in a photo album. Two of the photos are somewhat faded at the edges, the mounts toned and with scattered spots, overall very good. The photos depict several groups of soldiers at their camp. Two photos show formal images of men posing before the camera and in full uniform. One has 34 men outside by tents standing and seated, several with pipes in hand and two mugging for the camera by posing like boxers, while the other photo is of a smaller group of six men with their rifles leaning together at the center. The other photos capture a group of soldiers holding a blanket and tossing another soldier in the air while others watch. The final images is of eight smiling men in various states of undress, in long underwear and one shirtless, lounging in a tent in a very relaxed and friendly manner with a black soldier at the center leaning next to a white soldier with casual ease.
Our research suggests these photographs are of enlisted men from the 1st Regiment, U.S. Infantry taken in 1875 or shortly after, based on what appears to be uniformly worn five-button Sack Coats (first issued in 1874) and post-Civil War style forage caps (1872) and infantry insignia (1875). Despite a number of names written on a sign (seen in two of the photos), we have not been able to identify the particular company or any individual soldiers. We suspect a more careful examination of military records might yield more positive results. Still an interesting collection of original 19th Century photos including an endearing image of racial tolerance and companionship.1.