Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

In Living Color

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on May 28, 2013



I want to like colorized images from the Civil War period, I really do. But the truth is that most of them are just bloody awful — either pastel fantasies, or garish monstrosities that look like they were done by someone whose parents never would spring for the big box of crayons — you know, the one with 64 colors and the sharpener in the back of the box.

One colorist whose work is consistently both realistic and of very good quality is Mads Madsen, of Hornsyld, Denmark. He has a passion for historical subjects, particularly the American Civil War, and it shows. You can see some of this other work here. I was particularly taken with his work on this image of four old Confederate veterans, taken in January 1922 on the occasion of the funeral of Captain Isaac J. Hamlett.




The man seated at left is Harry Rene Lee, who served as a Sergeant during the war with Co. K of the 34th Mississippi Infantry. Lee would go on to become first Adjutant General, then Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans in 1935-36. Lee died in March 1938 at the age of 92. By then, he was universally known as “General” Harry Lee — you can see how that name would come naturally for old Confederates — and was so-listed on his death certificate, issued by the state of Tennessee.



11 Responses

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  1. Rob Baker said, on May 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I just can’t get on board with the photos. They look too much like a wax museum.

  2. Corey Meyer said, on May 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Amazing…best I have seen.

  3. Christopher Coleman said, on May 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I agree, colorization is something easily done poorly, as with Ted Turner’s awful colorization of classic b&w movies. However this picture is well done; the colorist obviously spent a great deal of time trying to get it just right. Good job.

    • Mads Madsen said, on May 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      2½ hours total time, with the 1 hour or so spent trying to locate that bloody medal on Mr. Lee, but thank you very much Christopher, I appreciate the nice words.

      • Andy Hall said, on May 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm

        The great American soldier/cartoonist of WWII, Bill Mauldin, warned people never to tell others how long it takes to do something, especially if you can do it quickly, because they’ll (1) expect it that fast every time, and (2) won’t value it as much anyway.

  4. Woodrowfan said, on May 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

    They look great Mr. Madsen. Very nice work. Any of Union troops?

    There are a few color photos fro, the early 20th century that were not colorized later. The Wilson House in DC has several of Wilson and his first wife, Ellen, in the White House garden circa 1913. The colors are rather soft, IIRC.

  5. thomasbondii said, on February 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Hi, does anyone know the Miss. insignia? SC has the Palmetto, so looking for the MS CSA insignia worn on hats etc.

  6. Samuel said, on October 31, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    64 with the sharpner in the back of the box. Good times that box of crayola was..

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