Old South Military Antiques

¼ Plate Ambrotype
Item #: OS-7380

  Page from Military Images

The distinguished looking officer shown in this quarter plate ambrotype shown here was taken by Moisennet & Law. Felix Moisennet and Frederick Law operated a photographic gallery in New Orleans.

The young officer has a sash across his leg and holds a Model 1850 Foot Officer’s sword across his lap. His trousers have a blue line of piping down the outer seam and he wears a grey battle shirt without insignia.

This image was previously published in Military Images in which was written: "Considering the simplicity of his uniform and absence of insignia, his allegiance is anyone’s guess” However his allegiance is clear; this is not a Federal uniform. It is a local unit uniform, and not one of the fancy aristocratic pre war units so popular in New Orleans. It is clearly a "get down to business” uniform circa 1860-61.

The writer of the published caption no doubt got the idea that the image is pre war because he later writes: "Felix Moisennet and Frederick Law were partners in a New Orleans gallery from 1856-1858.” However, this was not correct, the principles dissolved their short lived partnership on July, 1857, Frederick Law kept the stock and continued the business at the original location, 1, Camp Street, Corner of Canal. Law remained working in New Orleans until 1870.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but my opinion is that this is clearly an early War, Louisiana State or Confederate officer.

The quarter plate ambrotype is exceptionally clear and crisp. I believe the sword in his lap and the pride in his eye indicate that he was just promoted and had the photograph taken to mark the occasion.