CDV featuring a young African American male holding a puppy while sitting in a chair with a chicken perched on the top rail, ca 1864. Ink inscription on recto: "Sutlers Pets / 41st Illinois." Blue border on recto and verso.
The role of sutler was often filled by a civilian businessman who typically identified himself with a particular regiment, providing goods and camp fare, including items that were not readily available to the soldiers, and accompanying the regiment from camp to camp. His wares could range from writing materials to ID disks, and from clothing items to desirable foodstuffs the army did not provide. The sutler of the 41st Illinois Volunteer Infantry was Joel C. Benton, who likely commissioned this image to advertise some of his fare, including fresh food in the form of a chicken, and companionship in the form of a puppy. The African American subject pictured was likely a runaway slave and helper to Benton, and was perhaps viewed by Benton as a "pet" himself.
The 41st Illinois Infantry Regiment, organized at Decatur, saw action at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Hatchie's Bridge, Vicksburg, and Meridian before consolidating with the 53rd Regiment in December of 1864.
Penciled collection/identification code to verso along upper edge.
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