Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gallery: Faces of the Fighting Fifth (part two)

James Larkin of the Fifth 
[For other Fifth faces, see here, here and here.]

Here are more faces from the Fifth New Hampshire. Nearly all come from cartes-de-visite -- CDVs -- made in the photography salons that shot up all around the country in the 1850s and '60s. The war created a business boom for these salons as men going off to fight and their loved ones lined up to be photographed. The soldiers wanted to leave their families images of themselves -- called "shadows" in the vernacular of the day -- and carry pictures of their loved ones with them to the war front.

Our War includes a chapter called "Picture man." The title character is Henry P. Moore, a photographer from Concord who took his camera and equipment to Hilton Head, S.C., in 1862-63 There he set up a salon in a tent in the camp of the Third New Hampshire Infantry. Moore took group pictures in camp and also shot on location. His images of soldiers, sailors and slaves remain well known today. The New Hampshire Historical Society published a book of Moore's photos in 2000 and has a marvelous collection of them..

James Larkin, an officer in the Fifth New Hampshire, also had the photography bug. He shot pictures during the regiment's first winter in the field at Camp California, near Alexandria, Va. His letters home, also now at  the New Hampshire Historical Society, mention this avocation. The last I heard, a family in Virginia owned several of Larkin's pictures.

It is doubtful Larkin was able to keep shooting (pictures, anyway) once the Fifth began moving and fighting. In the spring of 1862, he was ill on the Virginia Peninsula, where his brother Albert died of disease. Larkin went along with the regiment, sometimes by ambulance,  for the fights at Fair Oaks and during the Seven Days. He also fought at Antietam and brought the remnant of the Fifth down Marye's Heights after the battle of Fredericksburg. Before his three-year enlistment ended, he had risen from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel of the regiment.

Here are more faces of the Fifth:

Jonathan C.S. Twitchell, brother of O'Neil (see part one), served as a
first sergeant in the Fifth. He was wounded at Cold Harbor. 
Cpl. Frederick Barrett of Winchester was hit
on the Fifth's march up Marye's Heights.
He served his full term with the Fifth  
Eldad Rhodes of Northumberland in postwar photo.
A  severe wound at Antietam ended his service
 with the Fifth. As recounted in Our War, not long after
 the battle, Eldad and his brother Freedom visited the
place along Bloody Lane where he was shot.
Wounded at Fair Oaks and  at nearby Cold
Harbor, Norman D. Corser survived the war.
George Gove of Raymond was wounded three
times in the same shoulder but fought
 three years with the Fifth.  
Welcome A. Crafts of Milan served in the
Second New Hampshire before joining the Fifth,
where he rose to lieutenant colonel.

George Bucknam and his fiancee Rosie Smith. He was a Concord printer
before the war, and she lived in Hanover. Our War tells Bucknam's
sad story as a private in the Fifth. 
Charles Phelps of Amherst joined the Fifth at the age of 19.
 As a sergeant at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, he shot the
 rebel who had shot Col. Edward E. Cross.
 Later that day Phelps was killed.

Charles Hapgood of Amherst joined  the Fifth  as a captain in 1861. He commanded the regiment
at Gettysburg and won his colonel's eagles  six days after Cross was mortally wounded there. 
John T.H. Downs, a native of Canada, was drafted from Milton, N.H.,  in 1863
 and served in the Fifth till war's end.  He was wounded at Cold  Harbor.
Here he wears his G.A.R. duds after the war. 


  1. Are sure you of the identification of the Colonel W.A. Crafts ?
    Please, see Crafts photos : COLONELS IN BLUE by Hunt or MY BRAVE BOYS by M.PRIDE and M.TRAVIS.
    Thank you

    1. The CDV in question was shot in Dover, N.H., and has an old pencil ID on the back as W.A. Crafts but no signature. The subject certainly has less hair than the Crafts in the picture Mark Travis and I used in My Brave Boys, but that photo was taken when he was a captain. He made captain in mid-1862. The soldier here is a colonel or lieutenant colonel, so if it is Crafts, the photo was taken in 1864 or '65. The earlier photo shows a receding hairline despite the comb-over. My guess is that between the taking of the two photos Crafts went bald prematurely (he was 29 in 1864). The facial features in the two photos are not strikingly different. And based on the Crafts letters I have read, the proud-warrior pose is not out or character. So, bottom line: I believe it is Crafts, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

  2. Thank you so much for your research. W.A. Crafts was my Great Great Grandfather and I had not seen a picture of him, nor do I have any other information about him except what has been passed down by family members. After being mustered out he moved to Brownsville, Texas. There he married and raised a family.

    David Trevino
    San Antonio, Texas

    1. I would like to ask David Trevino to contact me regarding W. A. Crafts. I have some historical info that may interest you. Thank you.

  3. Welcome A. Crafts appears in two chapters of "Our War," first as a member of the 2nd New Hampshire, then as a member of the 5th New Hampshire. He is also in the earlier book I did with Mark Travis, "My Brave Boys," a history of the 5th under Colonel Cross. There is a different photo of him in that book -- with a lot more hair on top but a receding hairline.