Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Remarkable Photographs and Sketches of Camp Griffin on the Library of Congress Website

Over the last few years, I have devoted considerable attention to the Union Army encampments in the vicinity of present-day McLean, Virginia. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith's division established Camp Griffin in October 1861 on property near the villages of Langley and Lewinsville. (The Pennsylvania Reserves, meanwhile, settled down at Camp Pierpont, which stretched along the Georgetown-Leesburg Turnpike and passed through Langley.) Whenever possible, I've tried to publish illustrations related to the camps, including some of George Houghton's fascinating photographs of the Vermont Brigade at Camp Griffin.

Thanks to a fellow blogger at Chooeubhaokhaossian the Great's Temple of History, I recently discovered a treasure trove of photographs and sketches of Camp Griffin on the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.  (Click here for the set of images.) The LoC's online collection appears to have expanded. I previously located a few Houghton photographs on the site, and in particular a set showing the separate companies of the 6th Vermont. Now several images (including a few photographs that are entirely new to me) are available for study and exploration. Moreover, the site offers some sketches by Larkin Goldsmith Mead, who was an artist for Harper's Weekly assigned to the Army of the Potomac. According to the LoC, Mead also made topographical drawings for Baldy Smith. I hope to return to some of these remarkable images in the future. For now, head over to the LoC website and take a look at life in camp around Washington during the first fall and winter of the war.

Here is just a sampling of the images:

"Union soldiers in front of tents, probably at Camp Griffin, Langley, Virginia," by George Houghton (courtesy of Library of Congress).
"Second Vermont Camp Griffin 1861," by George Houghton (courtesy of Library of Congress).
"Photographers on the Potomac. Camp Griffin, Virginia," by Larkin G, Mead (courtesy of Library of Congress).

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