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    Contraband Slave "Ole Abe" Carte de Visite. 2.5" x 4", with a Barr & Young Army Photographers, Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee studio imprint on verso. A young African-American man, named Abraham, is posed seated on a stool, hat in hand. He is bare-footed and wearing rather ragged clothing. With a handwritten caption reading "Ole Abe." A contemporary note in ink on the verso reads: "Vicksburg Sept. 18. 1863".

    This seemingly ordinary photograph captures one of the more remarkable stories to come out of the Civil War. During the 47-day siege of Vicksburg, many slaves were fighting alongside the citizens. Many male slaves were set to work on the front lines, digging trenches and building fortifications for the Confederate forces. As the siege stretched on, the Union army devised a plan to tunnel under the Confederate works and set off explosives. A mine was placed under the Confederate line, and seven slaves were killed in the subsequent explosion. One slave, however, had been working on the fortifications when the Union detonated their explosives and was literally launched into the Federal lines. Identified only as "Abraham", the man survived the ordeal and was treated by Union doctors. This photograph was taken shortly after he had been nearly blown up. After Abraham recovered from his injuries, he was employed on General James McPherson's staff as a cook. A second generation silver print version of this photograph of Abraham is held at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Trivial area of loss at the top left corner. Minor toning and soiling at the edges, with minimal corner wear. Else very good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 933

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