Apr 12, 2018 - Sale 2473

Sale 2473 - Lot 75

Price Realized: $ 1,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(CIVIL WAR--PHOTOGRAPHS.) Carte-de-visite of Kady Brownell and her husband Robert, both veterans of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry. Albumen photograph, 3 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches, on original plain mount; minimal wear, slightly faded. Np, circa 1870s

Additional Details

Kady Southwell Brownell (1842-1915) was one of the most unusual stories of the Civil War. Born to an English officer in a South African military camp, she was raised in Providence, RI by foster parents. She worked in a textile mill, where she fell in love with a married millwright named Robert Brownell. He soon obtained a divorce and she took the Brownell name. When Robert volunteered for the 1st Rhode Island Infantry at the outset of the war, Kady insisted on accompanying him. The regiment was commanded by the state's eccentric young governor William Sprague, who agreed to bring her along. She served as the regiment's color-bearer at the first Battle of Bull Run, and then at the close of their service the Brownells were both allowed to re-enlist in the 5th Rhode Island. She stayed behind to nurse him when he was wounded at New Bern, and then became the only woman in the entire Union Army to receive official discharge papers. After the war, she joined the Grand Army of the Republic, and posed for several photographs to capitalize on her distinguished service, which she sold at her numerous speaking engagements. She is here shown in a zouave uniform, although she likely did not wear this uniform in her infantry regiment.