One of Houghton's photographs has won a degree of fame as the cover illustration for the companion book to Ken Burns' acclaimed public television documentary on the Civil War. The photograph, reproduced below, shows soldiers of the 5th Vermont Infantry during a review in the fall of 1861. The troops stand at attention before a mounted officer. Local historian Carole Herrick has identified this officer as "Col. L.A. Grant." (Herrick 41.)*
|5th Vermont at Camp Griffin (courtesy of Vermont Historical Society)|
|Close-up view of the rock outcropping|
This past weekend I took my twin boys for a walk in search of the rock outcropping. A helpful local pointed me in the right direction, and I finally located the outcropping in the front yard of a private residence along Kurtz Road. A map of the location at the intersection of Kurtz and Maugh Roads can be found here. The outcropping is now embedded in a hillside and covered with ivy, but the feature is unmistakable. I snapped a few quick shots on my iPhone to share with readers. (My digital Nikon would have worked better, but sometimes it's best not to run around suburban neighborhoods toting a large camera!)
|Current view of the rock outcropping along Kurtz Road|
Finding the location of Houghton's well-known photograph of the 5th Vermont is a piece of cake thanks to that rock outcropping. We are not so lucky with many of the other photographs that Houghton took of the Vermont Brigade at Camp Griffin. The landscape around here has dramatically changed since the Civil War, and many of the pictures hold few clues as to the precise location where Houghton took them. That being said, I will continue my search for the campgrounds of the Vermont Brigade and other units that occupied the countryside near Lewinsville and Langley. The closer I get to understanding where those camps were, the closer I may be to figuring out where Houghton may have taken his photos. As always, I'll be sure to report my findings on this blog.
*According to the Vermont in the Civil War website, "L.A. Grant" is Lewis Addison Grant, who was a Lt. Col. when this picture was taken in the fall of 1861.
Winslow R. Hatch, Old Roads and New Insights: Adventures in Discovery (1985); Carole Herrick, Images of America: McLean (2011); Vermont in the Civil War (website).