Lot 459    

Photo Archive of Wisconsin Heavy Artillery at Battery Rodgers,
2004 Spring Historical Americana, May 20, 21
Washington defenses, comprising nine mostly oval 9” by 7” albumens of exceptional outdoor scenes with two studio albumens of battery personnel and a post-war photograph of Samuel S. Tubbs, a private in Company A, the original owner. The images are mounted on oval stock, some trimmed, but no longer framed, with pencil notations on verso giving the location together with pertinent details of battery activities.

Battery Rodgers was constructed and garrisoned by elements of the 1st Wisconsin heavy Artillery in 1863 to guard the southern approaches of the Potomac River near the Accotink Road. The battery complex was build on a bluff overlooking the river and mounted five Parrot guns with one 15-inch Rodman, and ultimately included a barracks, hospital, two powder magazines, and prison. Manned for the entirety of the war Battery Rodgers was part of the sprawling engineering marvel that constituted the Washington Defenses, tested only once by Jubal Early in July 1864.

The following is a brief description of each photograph’s content: #1. A nicely toned group shot of five battery officers with numeric pencil notations identifying them as, 1. 2nd Lt. George H. Van Epps, 2. 1st Lt. E.A. Van Wie, 3. 1st Lt. John Jemison, 4. Capt. William A. Spear, 5. 2nd Lt. William H. Hopkins. #2. Battery Rodgers at Alexandria, Va. 15 miles down the Potomac River from Washington. Geo. Bears of Rome, Wis. in barrel of cannon. #3. Battery Rodgers, Alexandria, Va. Light Field artillery, a fantastic image of a section of 3-inch ordnance rifles with crews. #4. The ornate front gate of Battery Rodgers showing a section of the wall and the rear of the gun platforms. #5. Hospital at Battery Rodgers with nine soldiers loitering out front. Notation on verso reads, Abram L. Tubbs enlisted with Co. K of 2nd Wisconsin. Transferred after 14 months into Co. A. 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery at Battery Rodgers. Abram is Samuel Tubbs brother. #6. A panoramic shot of the Potomac with ships at anchor taken from the upper walls of Battery Rodgers. #7. The massive 15-inch Rodman gun with Samuel Tubbs among the crew with notation, Large cannon at Battery Rodgers…50lbs. black powder in red woolen sack and 400 pound cannon ball. The regulation spit and polish look of the heavy artillerymen is noteworthy. #8. The well manicured Barracks at Battery Rodgers, winter quarters. Winter of 1861 Potomac River at Alexandria, Va. froze over and ice was strong enough to carry a man and snow fell to the depth of 2 to 3 inches. #9. Hospital at Battery Rodgers. Geo. Gatfield is seen on ladder whitewashing the building. Twelve soldiers shown with only Gatfield working. #10. A studio portrait thought to be Pvt. John Buckingham, Lt. George Gatfield, and Pvt. Samuel Tubbs standing. #11. Another studio view of ten battery privates identified by number with full names and towns inked on verso. #12. A later photograph of Samuel Tubbs (1833-1898) wearing GAR uniform with typed letter from genealogist supplying relevant Tubbs family cemetery information. Samuel Tubbs was discharged from the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery on February 21, 1865 and joined the 50th Wisconsin Infantry, finally mustering out as a 2nd Lieutenant on February 10, 1866.

Tubbs’ collection of well-executed photographs is uniformly in VG+ condition showing only minor handling and the occasional bruise. Clarity and detail are excellent with exceptional lighting for outdoor images. An uncommon identified archive.
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