Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 315

Price Realized: $ 6,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
(MILITARY--CIVIL WAR.) Ambrotype photograph of Caesar, an officer's servant near Washington. Hand-tinted sixth-plate ambrotype, 3 x 2 inches; lacking top case cover, hairline crack in image not crossing near face, professionally stabilized. With period identification slip, 1 x 1 1/2 inches, reading "W DeW Pringle body servant Caesar while serving in the Civil War, 1862." Np, 1862

Additional Details

A sharp and striking portrait of an Army servant, very likely a freedman, taken during the early period of the war. Contrabands escaping to freedom did not yet have the option of military service before 1863, but often found employment as personal servants for army officers. Caesar's employer Lieutenant William DeWolf Pringle (1840-1930) of Lockport, NY was chosen as an officer for the 22nd New York Light Artillery Battery in September of 1862, which became part of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment in early 1863; he served there through October 1864. His unit served on the defenses of Washington through May 1864, and then went out on the Overland and Shenandoah Valley campaigns. His father Benjamin Pringle (1807-1887) has served two terms as a United States Congressman, and in 1863 was appointed by President Lincoln to serve as a judge in South Africa on a special court for prosecuting the international slave trade. After the war, Lieutenant Pringle was a lawyer in Hastings, Minnesota, near where this ambrotype was found.