They Also Served

Miss Jordan, Miss Carpenter, and Miss Marsh appear in a photograph album from the 1860s that once belonged to Sergeant William Huntington of Lebanon, Connecticut and is now in the collections of the Connecticut Historical Society. Huntington was a member of the 8th Connecticut Volunteers and was wounded at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862. The three young women in this tintype were nurses who cared for him at the Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C. Huntington was fortunate; he recovered from his wounds and returned to active duty.  Because it was located near the steamboat landing, Armory Square Hospital was the first stop for badly wounded soldiers and received many of the worst casualties from the Southern battlefields. Between 1861 and 1865, it recorded the largest number of deaths of any military hospital in Washington. These three women would have seen a great deal of suffering and death, but we don’t know anything about them, except their names. If anyone knows anything about Miss Jordan, Miss Carpenter, or Miss Marsh, and can help CHS to tell their stories, please let me know. Another photograph from Huntington’s album is featured in These Honored Dead, an article about Memorial Day.

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2 thoughts on “They Also Served

  1. I wonder how Huntington obtained the photograph. Maybe the women kept a stack of photographs to give to soldiers they befriended. Or maybe Huntington hired a photographer to create they tintype so he could remember them. Any idea?

  2. Tintypes are unique originals, like daguerreotypes, taken by professional photographers in a studio. They weren’t printed from negatives–but they were often taken using cameras with multiple lenses. There would have been a limited number of copies (sixteen?) of this image–enough to share, but not too widely. Of course the nurses may have had other photographs taken of themselves as well. In those days people usually had photographs taken of themselves to give their friends and that’s probably what happened here. Maybe the nurses had the group portrait taken to send to their families and then gave away extra copies to soldiers in the hospital where they worked.

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