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    Description

    Unpublished 1/6th Plate Melainotype of Gilbert Moxley Sorrel As A Confederate Colonel. This impossibly rare image dates to 1863-1864 when Sorrel was a senior officer on the staff of Lt. General James Longstreet. He is wearing a colonel's double-breasted gray uniform coat with three stars on the collar. There appears to be no braid on the sleeves. Such an omission was intentional by mid-war since officer's trappings were a magnet for enemy fire. Sorrel's kepi, however, remains regulation headgear being well-endowed with braid. His belt rig is secured with a Model 1851 Federal sword belt plate having an eagle device with an applied silver wreath. A leather strap across his chest likely terminates in a case containing field glasses. Heavy gauntlets sheath the young colonel's hands. The photographer has applied gold paint to all buttons and insignia as was common practice. The image is under a brass mat and housed in an octagonal gutta percha case. Medieval players at chess are embossed on the lid (Krainik 338). The image has smooth surfaces and great tonal contrasts. All elements are in excellent condition. It is entirely possible that this portrait was taken to document Sorrel's promotion to colonel shortly before Gettysburg. His military career began as a private in the Georgia Hussars, an early colonial unit still active in today's Georgia National Guard. Sorrel's well-placed connections landed him on Longstreet's staff at First Manassas. He served at the general's side for over three years, being wounded at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg. In October, 1864 Colonel Sorrel was promoted to Brigadier General. He left Longstreet to command a brigade of Georgians attached to Mahone's Division. General Sorrel was lightly wounded at Petersburg and returned to the field only to receive a bullet through a lung on February 7, 1865 at Hatcher's Run. This, Sorrel's fourth wound, effectively kept him low for the duration of the war. After Appomattox, Sorrel resumed a working patrician's life in Savannah. His highly praised memoirs, Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer, were published posthumously in 1905.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2006
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,304

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