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    Fascinating Half-Plate Daguerreotype of Confederate Colonel James F. Caldwell and his Brother, Lieutenant Robert D. Caldwell, Jr. Four sons of Colonel Robert D. Caldwell of Paris, Tennessee went to war in 1861. Only one, Confederate Surgeon Major Samuel Houston Caldwell survived it. According to Goodspeed's Biography of Henry County Tennessee, the father of the young men owned much land in the state of Texas where two of his sons, James F. Caldwell and Robert D. Caldwell, had gone to settle. When war came in 1861 the young men joined the Confederate Army; the elder James F. Caldwell joining the Polignac Texas Brigade, the younger Robert D. Caldwell, Jr. signing up with the 9th Regiment of Mississippi Cavalry.

    Shown in this half-plate daguerreotype are Robert D. Caldwell at left, later a lieutenant in the 9th Mississippi Cavalry and his older brother James F. Caldwell who would rise to rank of colonel of Polignac's Brigade in Texas led by Prince Camille Polignac a French-born Confederate general. This photograph was taken at the start of the war at Waco, Texas and dramatically shows each man dressed in battle shirts and armed with revolvers and side knives.

    Robert D. Caldwell (1842-1865) became ill while fighting with the 9th Mississippi Cavalry and was taken back home to Paris, Tennessee where he later died, but not before being commissioned a lieutenant. Colonel James F. Caldwell, 1834-1865, was made chief of commissary for General Polignac and fought through the war until falling ill himself at the end of the war and dying of disease contracted through the protracted campaigns in Louisiana.

    One of their brothers had already fallen in battle. Captain Anthony Wayne Caldwell of the 5th Tennessee Infantry had been wounded in the hand at the Battle of Atlanta. In what was a common occurrence during the Civil War, Captain Caldwell's wounds would have not been fatal but not for the infection that set in days later. As noted in Confederate Lieutenant Edwin Rennolds' book, A History of the Henry County Commands, published after the war, fever set in his wounds and he died soon thereafter. Rennolds also recounts the deaths of James F. and Robert D. Caldwell, the subjects of this dynamic photograph we have here.

    The Tennessee State Historical Commission has a letter from Captain Anthony Wayne Caldwell to his father dated July 14, 1863, a year before his death at Atlanta where he mentions all three brothers, including Robert's promotion and James' service in the commissary of a brigade. Brother Samuel, the Confederate surgeon is mentioned as well.

    The surviving son of Colonel Robert D. Caldwell, Confederate Surgeon Major Samuel Houston Caldwell would return to Paris, Tennessee and be well known as Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's battlefield surgeon.

    This large half-plate daguerreotype is an exciting image by itself. Coupled with the history of the soldiers and their family, it is an historic piece as well. In good condition with some spotting, it is in its glass-covered frame with only half the leather case intact.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,255

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