A superb and unique Confederate photoConfederate Lt. Col. Walter H. Taylor: Quarter Plate Tintype, the Only Known War-Date Hard Image of Him. Lt. Colonel Walter Herron Taylor, served as General Robert E. Lee's aide and the Assistant Adjutant General of the Army of Northern Virginia. This tintype would He's wearing a regulation field grade officer's gray frock coat with a double row of buttons down the front. These are painted gold by the photographer, who also tinted the uniform piping a light blue. Taylor's collar carries the three stars officially reserved for a full Confederate colonel and his sleeves are decorated with twisted gold braid. This detail does create a bit of a mystery as Taylor never achieved the rank of full Colonel, retaining his Lt. Col. rank from late 1863 to the end of the war. While there are many possible explanations, the identity of this image as Taylor has never been questioned in the thirty years it has been known.
The son of an ancient Virginia family, Taylor was born in Norfolk in 1838 and graduated with VMI's Class of 1857. His post-graduate business career was barely launched when interrupted by the onset of the Civil War. Obtaining a staff position with the then obscure Lee in 1861, Taylor served directly under the South's beloved icon until war's end. When the General assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, Taylor's duties were broadened considerably. He handled communications to and from headquarters, enforced protocol and gathered intelligence for General Lee. His insider's position allowed Taylor to witness firsthand the grand decision-making behind the Confederate war machine. Taylor came to the general public's attention with the close of hostilities thanks to the media of the day. On April 16, 1865, a series of Brady photographs were taken at Lee's home in Richmond. The general proudly wore his Confederate uniform for the last time for this session. Among the albumen prints sold from the series was one titled "General Lee and His Staff" in which Taylor stands to Lee's left. Thanks to this commercial production Taylor was forever associated with the revered Lee. Superb quality and condition housed in the original full leather case with a paper cutout of Virginia and Confederate flags on the pad. A very important Civil War Confederate image.
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