CDV Size Tintype of a Union Drummer in front of a Benton Barracks Backdrop



CDV Size Tintype of a Union Drummer in front of a Benton Barracks Backdrop – This CDV size tintype, often referred to as a 1/5 plate, as it is somewhat larger than the standard CDV size, war period, hard image, depicts a rarely encountered, young drummer, apparently affiliated with a western theater, Union regiment. The subject of the image is uniformed in a nine button, enlisted man’s frock coat and wears a typical, western theater style, enlisted slouch hat. The soldier has a drum sling, attached to a regimental field drum which appears to have either an eagle or regimental shield painted on the outer shell. The drummer holds a drumstick in each hand; of additional interest, is the well-known and analyzed backdrop, behind the young drummer. This backdrop, named after the training ground for Union troops, near St. Louis, has been called the Benton Barracks backdrop. Research has indicated that the backdrop was possibly painted by local photographer, Enoch Long; additional, recent research indicates that the backdrop may have been the work of another St. Louis area photographer, active in 1864 and 1865, Stephen Evans. This image appears to be supportive of the latter theory, as along the lower right area of the backdrop is painted the following:




Regardless, this is an excellent image, which is a slightly dark, although the features in the image are all very visible and clear. The image retains its original preserver and cover glass and is housed in its original half case. The plate was apparently either suspended during the emulsion drying process or tacked to a wall, in the period, as there are three holes in the plate; the latter do not impinge on the image whatsoever and are not visible once the plate is behind its preserver and cover glass.

We recommend reading a great overview of the Benton Barracks backdrop, by Mike Medhurst and Brian Boeve, in the winter, 2016 issue of Military Images Magazine.