Major General David Hunter


David Hunter (1802–86) was a Union general in the American Civil War. Born in Washington, DC, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1822. Unlike many generals of his generation, he did not see action in the Mexican War (1846‒48). He was assigned a division at the onset of the Civil War in 1861. He was badly injured in the First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas, and reassigned to the Western Department in Missouri. In 1862, as commander of the Department of the South, he ordered the freeing of all slaves within his department and, after his request for reinforcements to protect the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida seacoast was denied, encouraged former slaves to join the fight against the Confederacy. His order was swiftly overturned by President Abraham Lincoln, who for political reasons was not yet prepared to admit freed slaves into the Union forces. In 1864 Hunter took command of the Department of West Virginia and was ordered to march on Lynchburg, Virginia. He captured many towns along his advance in the Shenandoah Valley but, mistakenly believing that General Jubal Early had reinforced the Confederate force at Lynchburg, Hunter withdrew his forces, leaving the valley vulnerable to Early’s advance toward Washington. This mistake led to his resignation. He later served on the military commission that tried the conspirators involved in Lincoln’s assassination. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Date Created

Publication Information

Edward Anthony, New York

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : carte-de-visite, albumen paper ; 8.5 x 5.3 centimeters


  1. Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, “Hunter, David,” in Spencer C. Tucker, editor, American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection (Santa Barbara, C.A.: ABC-CLIO, 2013).

Last updated: March 22, 2016