Rare Identified Civil War 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment Ambrotype


Unbelievably Rare and Phenomenal Identified Civil War 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment Ambrotype (to Private James B. Dehner).

*This ambrotype photograph represents only one of the few currently known and surviving American Civil War period images of a cavalry soldier from the 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment – to add identification of the individual pictured to that fact places this piece into nearly incomparable territory.

Artifact shows a formidably armed cavalryman (boasting a cavalry saber, a Sharps carbine, and his issued U.S. model pistol) of the renowned 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment (USA), known as “Merrill’s Horse”. Image is identifiable to the 2nd Missouri Cavalry Regiment by the special and unique attire of the soldier sitting for the portrait (a highly distinctive and unmistakable style of uniform known to only be worn by the cavalrymen of that specific unit).

Sixth plate. Ambrotype in wood and pressed leather case. Plate presents with losses of emulsion from scratches in facial area of portrait. Leatherette case is split at the spine. Included inside the case was what appears to be a shred of a page from a period German Bible wrapped around a lock of hair – both were found behind the plate (which may account for the loss of emulsion). Additionally, this artifact came with a modern note paper with the handwritten word “Dehner” (which we believe to be the last name of the family to which the soldier belonged).

According to our research, the name “Dehner” almost certainly refers to one Private James B. Dehner (born 1846 in Shelby County, Missouri). Private Dehner is recorded as having served with Company G of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry during the American Civil War in the U.S. Civil War Pension Files of the National Archives and Records Administration (last photo).

It would not be an overstatement to call this ambrotype a “Holy Grail” piece and a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This image would be greatly prized due to content alone – as period Civil War photographs containing this many weapons are exceedingly rare of their own accord. However, this artifact is taken to the highest of heights because it represents one of the only known Civil War period images in existence of a cavalryman from the famed “Merrill’s Horse” and is ostensibly identified directly to a specific soldier from that very unit.

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