Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Civil War Photographer

Today's picture shows Civil War Photographer Sam Cooley. You can see two photographic wagons and, most interestingly, one of his cameras.

I was not able to find much information on Sam Cooley. Given how his name is prominently featured on the wagons, I am inclined to believe that he did not work for Mathew Brady.


  1. This is what I was able to find on Mr. Cooley:

    He was the "Official Photographer" for the 10th Army. Several of his photographs are on different sites. He followed the 10th Army. He was also in St. Augustine, Florida.


    Manuscript volume, 1864-1866, of Samuel A. Cooley, contains cash accounts for his photographic studio in Jacksonville, Fla., 12 March - 5 August 1864 and for his mercantile business in Beaufort, 1865-1866. Cooley, from Connecticut, surfaced in the Beaufort area before the war as a photographer. He stayed in the occupied area as a sutler [i.e. a trader who supplies soldiers with food, drink, and other supplies] and by 1863 had a photographic studio above his store located next door to the Arsenal. Although Sam Cooley sold his photographic business in May 1864 with the intent of returning to the North, he reappeared in 1865, advertising himself as "Photographer Dept. of the South" and selling his wartime photographs. By 1866 Cooley had established himself as an auctioneer, town marshall, and businessman in Beaufort. His account book indicates he sold bread and foodstuffs to various businesses as well as to the General Hospital and the Small Pox Hospital.

  2. Maybe it's just me but the signs on those wagons look photoshopped. They are too clean and too bright for being in a war zone and driven on dirt roads through all kinds of weather, unless, they are new and just made before the photo. They still bother me though.

  3. When you get down to it , the wagons and cloths on all the men look very clean and freshly ironed. Maybe this was a media advertising blitz of the time. After all, he was a salesman and opportunist based on the information Jan found


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