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    Description

    Two Great Quarter Plate Ambrotypes with Accompanying Letter from 1st U. S. Cavalry Trooper C. 1858. The trooper's ID is Abram M. Schoonmaker, and Civil War records simply list him as having service in Co. E 1st U. S. Cavalry, which is the unit he is in in these images. Because of the date on the accompanying letter we believe the images date to C. 1858. The two images are housed in the original double faced leather case, allowing one image to be viewed from each side. In the first image Schoonmaker is seated wearing a short, one button, standup collar, shell jacket with six gilt tinted buttons on the cuff. The buttons are actually present and not simply gilded for added decoration. He wears brass shoulder scales, saber belt with what appears to be a plain plate and holds what is clearly a M1860 cavalry sabre, Doubtless one of the first M1860s issued, which were believed to have been issued from Ft. Leavenworth (where Schoonmaker was posted) as early as late 1857. On the table at his side is his regulation M1855 Hardee hat with company and regimental insignia clearly displayed on the front, along with black ostrich feather plume on the side. Image is done as a silhouette with Schoonmaker appearing against an artificially created background. The other image shows Schoonmaker mounted, with his full set of equipment, and holding a Sharps carbine. Shoulder scales, bedroll, valise, saber etc. all clearly visible. Posed with a log building with shake roof in the background, likely at Ft. Leavenworth. Both images very fine, with just some minor edge bluing, and some very minor flaking on the black painted verso of the mounted image, easily restored. Case also excellent.
    The 8" X 9 3/4" letter is written by Schoonmaker from Ft. Leavenworth and dated "May the 15th 1858" The letter is to his brother and written in bright blue ink on light blue paper. Perfectly legible, although at times a bit difficult to precisely decipher because of Schoonmaker's horrid 'phonetic' spelling. Reports on difficulties related to getting paid and reports that he expects the unit will leave for Salt Lake City on June 4th. He reports that "it is said that Brigum Young has come to a conclution too make peas and give up the City too the goverment of the United States and if that be so I think we will be stationed thare as a front teer Post too keep indians back". He also reports that should Young decide against surrendering the United States is prepared to go to war and "thare will be a grate maney lives lost on bothe sides". Reports that "....i am giting too be quit a soildier and i think i can lick one of Brigum Young men at any rate. ...i have got a horse, sadle and bridle soed saber and rifle and Six Shooter an i have lern how too handle them pity well". Further reports on the frequency and character of drill. Signed "Your afectionate Brother address too Fort Leavenworth kansas Abram M. Schoonmaker" Letter in excellent sound condition. Two remarkable images with an equally important letter.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,010

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