Posted 4 years ago
I love these Civil War images that, through a period identification, are able to tell a story.
James Bentley enlisted as a Private in the 24th NY Infantry in MAY 1861. By October he was serving as a hospital steward (photo #3 shows the sleeve insignia authorized for the position).
On 30 AUG 1862, James was captured by Confederate forces at the 2nd Bull Run. He was only held for a few days before being paroled.
James then was commissioned into the 15 NJ Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant.
After the Battle of Gettysburg, he was noted as being in "delicate health" (possibly a PTSD issue as he was moved from a line position to assist the Quartermaster) and eventually resigned from the Regiment in FEB 1864.
In his image, Bentley wears the early war NY State issue shell jacket with shoulder tabs and large NY buttons. He wears tall boots that would be more consistent with mounted troops.
The carte de visite was most likely made by a local Virginia photographer (marked "Falmouth, VA" by Bentley) and can be dated to the time period of JUN- AUG 1862 based on Regimental locations.