While many of the photographs in this outstanding collection are originals, a significant number are copies. Most of these were made in the first quarter of this century by Montgomery photographer Sidney Pinney Tresslar, to whom Owen turned when potential donors could not bring themselves to part with their cherished originals.
Unfortunately, the collection has been difficult to access because the photographs were filed by the individual's surname only. Researchers found the filing situation particularly frustrating, forcing them to search through thousands of files in a "needle in a haystack" approach to documenting uniforms, weapons, and accoutrements. Efforts by Archives' staff, however, made access much easier. Through the use of our registrar's files, correspondence, and the department's excellent collection of military service records and regimental histories, the staff has been able to verify the accuracy of each soldier's identification, make corrections where necessary, and, in many cases, provide the proper company and regimental designation. All photographs are carefully cataloged and made available co researchers.
This improved organization and accessibility have led to some interesting discoveries within the collection, including several unpublished photographs. William C. Davis, editor of The Confederate General, attempted to feature every known photograph of every Confederate general in uniform in his publication. Our research has turned up unpublished views of five additional Confederate generals in uniform. One of these photographs, as well as the others presented (with the possible exception of G. B. Dozier), is published here for the first time.
In this information age, we stand on the verge of making these photographs available to more individuals than have seen them in the past 150 years. With this potential in mind, Archives' staff have taken the time and effort to ensure that the information we pass on is correct. Without such safeguards, we would be simply recording and passing on incorrect information in a more efficient manner.
This feature was previously published in Issue 42, Fall 1996.
About the Author
Robert Bradley is curator of Special Collections, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery.