Joseph Taylor, 108th USCT CDV, Rock Island, Illinois, circa 1863

CDV full-length portrait of African American soldier. Gayford & Speidel: Rock Island, Illinois, n.d., circa 1865. Imprint on verso. Identified on verso by ink inscription as “Joseph Taylor / 1st. Sergt. Co. F. 108 U.S.C.T.”

Organized at Louisville, Kentucky on June 20, 1864, the 108th United States Colored Infantry regiment consisted predominantly of formerly enslaved men from Kentucky as well as some free men. After garrison and guard duty at various points in Kentucky, the regiment arrived at Rock Island POW camp in Illinois. Here the 108th served guard duty over Confederate prisoners from January to May 1865 during which time this photograph was likely taken.

Records indicate that Taylor enlisted on June 27, 1864, as a 1st Sergeant, his discharge or any other information is unlisted. Gayford & Speidel Photographers were active in a Rock Island in the 1860s and are known to have photographed dozens of soldiers from the USCT, including Lot 21 in Part I of The Road West. A group of 30 related Gayford & Speidel images of officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted men from the 108th, Company F are in the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Taylor’s image is not among them.


Old adhesive residue on verso edges. 

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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