Comprising two cased quarter plate tintypes said to be James Martin Reed and his wife Margaret M. Reed, with another loose sixth plate tintype attributed as James’ brother Francis M. Reed. Both uniformed views depict cavalry privates wearing regulation shell jackets with gilded yellow trim. Accompanying the images is an unsigned letter attesting to the Reed identifications along with some detailed Reed family genealogy dated November 1970.
James Martin Reed (1836-1863) enlisted in Company E, 1st Alabama Cavalry US as a private on February 20, 1863. Conflicting records indicate that he was captured in June 1863 (probably June 11 at Burnsville, MS during an expedition to Tupelo) and paroled at City Point on July 2, 1863. Sent to Benton Barracks to await exchange, Reed was hospitalized and died on July 30 of typhoid fever. His rank given as sergeant, James M. Reed is buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Grave #7609. Brother Francis M. Reed fared no better. The 24-year-old enlisted in Company E. on August 27, 1863 at Glendale, MS and was captured during a fight at Vincent’s Cross Road’s, MS on October 26, 1863 in which the 1st Alabama suffered 14 killed and 25 wounded. Francis Reed died while a prisoner of war at Cahaba, AL on July 29, 1864.
The indigenous 1st Alabama Cavalry composed of expatriate Southerners was heavily employed in scouting and reconnaissance work and later rode as General Sherman’s escort during the March to the Sea. Both brothers served in the only Union cavalry regiment raised in Alabama.
Condition: The Reed quarter plate shows minor hairlines being somewhat dark with just average clarity, G+. The uncased Reed sixth plate is damaged with scattered loss of surface emulsion. The female quarter plate containing a lock of hair is silvery with solorization. Both quarter plates housed together in a separated composition case.