Rare Carte de Visite of Confederate Officer Lucius Eugene Polk in 1861


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Rare Carte de Visite of Confederate Officer Lucius Eugene Polk in 1861 – This extremely rare image of Lucius Eugene Polk was taken prior to his advance in rank to Colonel and then Brigadier General. This image, taken by an Arkansas photographer, depicts Polk, in uniform, at the rank of Lieutenant. The image was tinted, in the period, highlighting Polk’s sash, buttons, insignia, frock coat cuffs and collar; the tinting was artfully executed and does not obscure important elements in Polk’s attire. The back mark indicates the following:



Markham Street,

Opposite Head-Quarters



HENRY SLATTER, — Proprietor


Pictures colored to life if desired   Duplicates

can be had at any time within a year.”

 Polk would serve with distinction in numerous engagements, primarily in the western theatre of the war, rising shortly after his initial enlistment, to the rank of Colonel of the 15th Arkansas Infantry; he would be commissioned as a Brigadier General, in late December of 1862. This is a rare, from life, image of Gen. (then Lt.) Polk, at the onset of the war, taken by an enterprising Arkansas photographer, who, according to his tradesman’s back mark, set up “shop” adjacent to “Head-Quarters” to enhance his photography business taking images of various officers. The image remains in excellent condition, with the tinting remaining vibrant and the subject’s resolution impressive. One can even see the ornate embroidered stitching on Polk’s belt. The image of Polk was found, with several other war period images, in a rural area near Bedford, Virginia; accompanying the image is a second CDV that may depict Polk’s wife.

 Lucius E. Polk


Lucius E. Polk
Born July 10, 1833
SalisburyNorth Carolina
Died December 1, 1892 (aged 59)
Place of burial Saint John’s Church Cemetery, Ashwood, Tennessee
Allegiance Confederate States
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–1864
Rank Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War

·       Battle of Shiloh

·       Battle of Richmond

·       Battle of Perryville

·       Battle of Murfreesboro

·       Battle of Chickamauga

·       Chattanooga Campaign

·       Battle of Ringgold Gap

·       Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Other work Planter


Brigadier-General Lucius Eugene Polk (July 10, 1833 – December 1, 1892) was a senior officer of the Confederate States Army who commanded infantry in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. He was a nephew of Leonidas Polk.

Early life

Polk was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. When he was two years of age, the family moved near Columbia, Tennessee. Polk attended the University of Virginia in 1850-51, before settling in Helena, Arkansas, where he was a planter.[1]

Civil War

In 1861, Polk enlisted in the Yell Rifles as a private under Patrick Cleburne, who he served under during most of the War. At the Battle of Shiloh, then Junior Second Lieutenant Polk was wounded in the face. He was promoted to colonel of the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment following Shiloh. When Cleburne was promoted to divisional command, Polk was appointed brigadier general to date from December 13, 1862. Polk took part in fighting at Stones RiverChickamaugaChattanooga, and in the Atlanta Campaign. In June 1864, Polk was severely wounded (the fourth time during the war) at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and was honorably discharged from the Army.[2]

Post-war career

Polk returned to Columbia after his wounding at Kennesaw. He served as a delegate to the 1884 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 1887 he was elected to the Tennessee Senate.[2]

Death and legacy

Polk received high praise from Confederate soldier Sam Watkins, who wrote of him in his book Co. Aytch: “In every battle he was engaged in, he led his men to victory, or held the enemy at bay, while the surge of battle was against us; he always seemed the successful general, who would snatch victory out of the very jaws of defeat. In every battle, Polk’s brigade, of Cleburne’s division, almost making the name of Cleburne as the Stonewall of the West. Polk was to Cleburne what Murat or the Old Guard was to Napoleon.”[3]

Polk died in Columbia, Tennessee, and is buried at St. John’s Church Cemetery at nearby Ashwood. His son Rufus King Polk was a Congressman from Pennsylvania.[2]