Many soldiers during the Civil War had their pictures taken by travelling photographers who would set up a tent in the soldiers’ camps. It is likely that this unidentified African-American soldier had his picture taken by one such photographer – the backdrop is a painted one, hung from a rope, and the floor is dirt. This is not a permanent photographer’s studio.
One wonders what prompted the soldier to have his picture taken. Was it the novelty of it? Was it for someone? A sweetheart or a parent? No one knows. Perhaps that is what makes so many of these pictures haunting in their own way – the unknown stories behind them.
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