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Photographs3203 of 4472Antique photograph of a boy banker with King of BillsAntique photographs LE ROY ROSELIEVE
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Posted 6 years ago

(1 item)

The buttons are all in script 538 on this cabinet photo, and the photographer is J. W. Black & Co, 333 Washington St., Boston. Your information concerning uniform, insignia and other details are appreciated.

Mystery Solved


  1. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 6 years ago
    Certainly look like cannons to me. Not the typical crossed cannon insignia, though. Royal artillery uses something similar, but even those aren't a good match.
  2. Blackhawk, 6 years ago
    The collar insignia is a prominent wheel superimposed over an artillery gun trail and cannon barrel. The officer wears no epaulettes and looks something like Adelbert Rinaldo Buffington, a US ordnance officer who served 1861-1901. Could this photo show a US ordnance uniform that is quite different from the usual US army officers uniform?
  3. Harborguy Harborguy, 6 years ago
    I think it could be helpful if you were able to make out the engraving on the chest medal.
  4. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
    based on the cannon and the script 538 on the buttons, I don't believe this gentleman is in the regular US Army. He is possibly one of the many 19th century militias, from another country (in spite of the photo being taken in boston) or even a military school instructor.

    First, I do not know of regimental numbers being on US Army buttons in the time period this image suggests, but the practice was quite common in Europe.

    Second, I checked a couple of my best reference books, and didn't see Artillery or ordanance officer's insignia like these, the cross cannons and ordnance bombs being used long before the photo was taken.

    I won't say absolutely positively - but I'll be surprised if he's US Army.
  5. Militarist Militarist, 6 years ago
    I think Chrisnp is correct. The collar insignia is not American as far as i know and the medal shape and suspension looks foreign also. possibly British regimental?
  6. Blackhawk, 6 years ago
    I telephoned the historian of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts and then emailed the cabinet photo. The man in the photo is a member of the oldest chartered military organization in the western hemesphere which dates from 1638 and is still active and headquartered in Boston, Mass.
  7. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
    Wow. That's cool!

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