Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Image of Camp Griffin

While researching the winter camps of the Army of the Potomac around Langley and Lewinsville, I located another period image (click on photo for higher resolution):

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, from New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

This photograph of the 43rd New York Volunteer Infantry at Camp Griffin was made for a stereoscope, a nineteenth century version of a View Master that transformed a pair of two-dimensional images into a three-dimensional one.  At least one company of men appears to be drilling on an open field next to an encampment of tents.  The surrounding countryside is barren, with the exception of a small copse of trees of a rise of land.  Much of the ground was likely flattened by the constant movement of men across the field.  The landscape appears harsh, with little protection from wind.  One can only imagine how muddy the soil became with rain or snow.

The 43rd New York was composed of volunteers from Albany and New York City and was mustered into service in September 1861.  The regiment was known as the "Albany Rifles" or "Yates' Rifles."  In the fall of 1861, the 43rd was attached to General Winfield Scott Hancock's brigade of General "Baldy" Smith's division.  The regiment spent the winter at Camp Griffin before being sent to the Peninsula in March 1862 as part of the Fourth Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  The regiment was attached to the newly-formed Sixth Corps during the Peninsula Campaign, and served the rest of the war in many of the most important battles of the Eastern Theater, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness.

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