Coffee And Saltines: Civil War-Style

It never ceases to amaze me how low-res and dark a Kodak picture from 1985 can be, and yet this image from a wet plate glass negative by James F. Gibson is clear as a bell. Isn’t it amazing to see this group of fellows at Camp Winfield Scott, near Yorktown, Virginia in May of 1862? It’s from the collection of the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862.

This is the full image, but I really enjoy zooming in on the details to get a better understanding of life over 150 years ago.


The sober faces, the wayward hairs, the buttons on their shirts, the metal cup that seems like it would conduct the heat and be hard to handle–so interesting!


8 thoughts on “Coffee And Saltines: Civil War-Style

  1. You should come work with me! This is what I do most days. No, not take coffee breaks! I scan and document glass plate negatives. I first make a negative of the plate, then convert it to positive, saving both as separate files. Then I will enlarge the digital image and remove the specks and blemishes, like those in your first pic showing on the tent and uniform. I then save that as a separate file. A lot of work but I love the detail of these. Sometimes though, the person being photographed moves and it creates a ghost image.

    Liked by 2 people

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