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Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
(MILITARY.) Signed photograph of Preston Taylor as a drummer with the 116th United States Colored Troops. Albumen carte-de-visite photograph, 3 1/2 x 2 inches, on original mount with backmark of photographer L.I. Prince, signed in the image "Preston Taylor, Co. G, 116th U.S.C.T."; minimal wear. New Orleans, LA, circa late 1866
Preston Taylor (1849-1931) was born into slavery and raised in Kentucky. He was liberated at 15 years of age, and joined the 116th Regiment of United States Colored Troops, which recruited in Kentucky. The regiment served in the Richmond-Petersburg campaign through Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the war ended, they remained on occupation duty in Texas, then were stationed in New Orleans from September 1866 until mustered out in January 1867. After leaving the army, Taylor worked as a train porter before becoming a minister in Kentucky in 1870. He founded the short-lived Christian Bible College in New Castle, KY. Moving to Nashville, TN in 1882, he became a leader of the city's African-American community--continuing with his ministry, founding a bank, and playing a major role in the founding of Tennessee State University. This photograph was taken in New Orleans, almost certainly while Taylor was stationed there in late 1866. The photographer Louis Isaac Prince was listed at the address given here, 112 Canal, in the 1865, 1866, and 1867 New Orleans directories, and he died in 1867. The inscription on this photograph matches Taylor's signature in the Freedman's Bank Records from 1867, as seen on ancestry.com. Identified photographs of African-American soldiers from the Civil War era are scarce. Taylor's post-war prominence and the presence of his confirmed signature make this one even more noteworthy.
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