I am republishing this tremendous post from the Pigspittle Ohio blog. Enjoy. Please, make any comments to the original:


I had named my camera Polyphemus, after Homer’s Cyclops, for its one eye. In the early days of the war, Polyphemus and I took portraits of young men for their sweethearts or mothers. Some did straggle in drunk, posing in uniforms half-buttoned, grinning stupidly as I strapped them to chair legs to keep them still. More often, they arrived with puffed chests, with moustaches grave and neatly combed and eyes shining. I had not thought much about where they were going.

Just before the war came to the farmland and woods surrounding our small town, two Union soldiers appeared at my studio. They were haggard and hurried. One showed a tintype of himself two years earlier, looking hale and clean. Now, a scar slashed from the bottom lid of his left eye, trailing down to the top of his lip, like a tilted crescent moon. His name was Thomas and…

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