Stanton's Official Dispatch, Fort Fisher Double Amputee CDV

Carte featuring uniformed sailor and double amputee Bernard Toby/Tobey (named spelled variously), with both arms missing below the elbow, having ribbons on his shirt and a strapped "hurdy-gurdy," or hand organ, at his hip. He is posed next to a small cart flying an American flag, with a similarly uniformed young boy (possibly Toby's son) posed on the opposite side. The cart clearly shows a sign reading, in part, "Stanton's Official Dispatch," and proclaiming the victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher. Credited to Fetter's New Photograph Gallery, Logansport, IN on verso. Verso also bears a printed copy of Stanton's Official Dispatch, dated January 17, 1865, announcing the fort's fall. It reads, in part, "Troops arrive at Fort Fisher, Thursday, Jan. 12th; were landed Friday, Jan. 13th; assault made Sunday, at 3 1/2 o'clock P. M.; fight lasted seven hours...Explosion on Monday, Jan. 16th, between 6 and 7 o'clock, A.M."

Bernard Toby, a Dutch-born Crimean War veteran, moved to the United States with his wife in 1856, and enlisted in the US Navy after the Civil War broke out in 1861. Service in the war did not come without its personal tragedies, and Toby was no exception. On January 16, 1865 a powder magazine exploded while he was inside the surrendered Fort Fisher. Two-hundred men were killed or wounded in the accident, including Toby, who lost both of his arms. In need of extra money, Toby thought of a creative way to make the most of his situation. He purchased a hand organ and used it to perform concerts around the country with his son. These events, along with photographs such as the one featured in this lot, provided additional income for his family. This CDV is a fascinating reminder of the cost of war and a sailor who bore that cost with courage and ingenuity.

Source: Leisenring, Jr., Richard. "Philanthropic Photographs," Military Images, Spring 2018.


 Some light soiling, light edge/corner wear. 

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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