Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Pathetic and Dishonest

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on January 28, 2018

There’s a story from the Daily Mail that’s making the rounds about a small community in Maryland, called Unionville, that was founded by African American veterans of the Civil War. It’s a neat story, but one of the first things I noticed stood out, an image that (according to the Daily Mail) shows the eighteen veterans who would go on to establish the town in 1867, two years previously while still in service (highlighted):

I’m calling bullshit on this.

Many of you know this picture; it’s one of most-often published images of African American soldiers from the war. As my friend Bryan Cheeseboro says, it has “become the face of the history of the Black Civil War soldier.” But this image isn’t what the Daily Mail — and presumably the local sources the paper was working with, claim it to be. It is, of course, Company E of the Fourth U.S. Colored Infantry, taken in November 1865. You can view the original at the LoC here.

Set aside for a moment the implausibility of there being an extant photo that shows the soldiers — and only those soldiers — who would go on two years later to establish Unionville. There’s deliberate misrepresentation going on here. As some of you might have guessed, in order to get the desired number of eighteen soldiers, someone carefully cropped out roughly a third of men who appear in the original image from the Library of Congress:

But wait — it gets worse.

Even with careful cropping, there’s still one too many men in the image — so someone Photoshopped him out entirely:

There’s not much more to say about this, other that it’s deliberate misrepresentation and manipulation of an historical photo, apparently for no purpose other than to juice the story about the veterans who founded Unionville. Pathetic and dishonest.

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8 Responses

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  1. Andy Hall said, on January 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

    The Daily Mail article shows headstones of the veteran founders of Unionville, only one of which — that of Matthew Roberts — is shown to have been a member of the Fourth U.S. Colored Infantry. But he was in Co. K, not Co. E as shown in the historic photo.

  2. OhioGuy said, on January 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Well, at least we can’t blame this one on neo-Confederates. Perhaps, neo-Unionists? 😉

    • Andy Hall said, on January 28, 2018 at 11:40 am

      I just don’t see any point in this. At first I thought it was a careless captioning done by the Daily Mail, but then I realized that the mage itself has been doctored.

      • OhioGuy said, on January 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm

        Obviously someone told the Daily Mail that this photograph was of those 18 men. I suspect a Union sympathizer doctored this photo and fabricated the story that it represented this group of men, just the same way this photo has been doctored by neo-Confederates to “prove” the existence of black rebels. In both cases it’s shameless behavior!

        • woodrowfan said, on February 4, 2018 at 6:53 am

          it’s likely the D.M. did it on their own. A reporter heard the story and wrote it up, then a photo editor did a quick search for images on USCTs, grabbed one, then edited it out. The D.M. is known for being shameless in printing things they know are not true.

  3. jcburden said, on January 28, 2018 at 11:53 am

    That representation is just bizarrely unlikely on its face. Does the Daily Mail take us for fools???

  4. Shoshana Bee said, on January 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The USCT did not get their due respect then, and they are still being disrespected in memory by this sort of manipulation.

  5. woodrowfan said, on January 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    it’s not known as “The Daily Fail” for nothing…


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