Saturday, March 10, 2012

Faces From the Past, Part 2

Yesterday I said that seeing reconstructed images of unidentified Civil War sailors would not be likely to generate an "Oh, look! It's Dad!" reaction.  I stand corrected.  It seems that the portrait of an unidentified Confederate soldier has generated a "Oh, look! It's Uncle Dave!" reaction, and now the uniformed young man gazing out of it has a name, a history, and a family.

According to a Washington Post story, David M. Thatcher, from Martinsburg, VA, enlisted in Company B, Berkeley Troop, First Virginia Cavalry, and was killed in battle at age 19 in 1863.  He is buried in the cemetery at Martinsburg's Tuscarora Presbyterian Church.

The portrait in question was donated to the Library of Congress last October.  While the uniform and equipment in the picture provided a great deal of information about its subject, what it couldn't provide was a name, and so he was just an unknown face used in a Library of Congress advertisement. The wife of one of his relatives happened to see the advertisement last week and immediately recognized Uncle Dave because of another portrait that has been kept in the family.

The full story can be read here.


  1. That is one hellva coincidence!

  2. I like that such events mean so much, still, to people. Thanks for the post.

  3. @Old NFO - Isn't it though?

    @Brigid - Yes. I always feel bad when I see old photos in antique stores and thrift shops. Always think "That's someones family - it should be with them."