14 Tennessee Infantry Company re-enact a Civil War burial scene. Wetplate collodion negative to gelatin chloride paper contact. By William Dunniway, 1994.

14 Tennessee Infantry Company re-enact a Civil War burial scene. Wetplate collodion negative to gelatin chloride paper contact. By William Dunniway, 1994.

From the pages of Scientific American (October 18, 1862)

“Decidedly one of the institutions of our army is the travelling portrait gallery. A camp is hardly pitched before one of the omnipresent artist in collodion and amber bead varnish drives up in his two-horse wagon, pitches his canvas gallery, and unpacks his chemicals. Our army here (Fredericksburg) is now so large that quite a company of these gentlemen have gathered about us. The amount of business they find is remarkable. Their tents are thronged from morning to night and “while the day lasteth” their golden harvest runs on. Here for instance near Gen. Burnside’s headquarters, are the combined establishments of two brothers from Pennsylvania, who rejoiced in the wonderful name Bergstresser. They have followed the army for more than a year, and taken the Lord only knows, how many thousand portraits. In one day since they came here they took in one of the galleries, so I am told, 160 odd pictures at $1 each. Their style of portrait affected by these travelling army portrait makers is known in the profession as the melainotype, which is made by the collodion process on a sheet-iron plate and afterward set with amber-bead varnish.”

Union soldier. Ferrotype by William Dunniway. 1994.

Union soldier. Ferrotype by William Dunniway. 1994.