Unidentified African American Soldier in Union Uniform with Wife and Two Daughters


In May 1863, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton issued General Order Number 143 creating the Bureau of U. S. Colored Troops. This photograph shows an unidentified African American soldier in a Union uniform, with his wife in dress and hat, and two daughters wearing matching coats and hats. The image was found in Cecil County, Maryland, making it likely that this soldier belonged to one of the seven United States Colored Troop regiments raised in Maryland. The photograph is from the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress. The collection includes more than 1,000 special portrait photographs, called ambrotypes and tintypes, representing both Union and Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War (1861−65). The photographs often show weapons, hats, canteens, musical instruments, painted backdrops, and other details that enhance the research value of the collection. Among the rarest of the images are those of sailors, of African Americans in uniform, and portraits of soldiers with their families and friends.

Last updated: September 24, 2014