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Photo of the Month
January 2017
See Previous Photos     Unknown Faces and Places


One of the newly discovered Civil War soldiers in the extended family was Andrew Jacob Sturtz -- of the family of Susanna (Gaumer) Sturtz Baughman -- who served in 6th U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Company A. He was a carpenter who had migrated from Adamsville, OH to Hazel Dell, IL, and stood 5 feet, 8½ inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair

Andrew and his fellow soldiers of the 6th U.S. Infantry were assigned to guard duty at the Washington Arsenal on the excessively hot July 7, 1865, the fateful day when the four co-conspirators convicted in President Lincoln's assassination were executed by hanging -- Mary Surratt, George Atzerodt, David Herold and Lewis Powell.

While standing at attention in the heat, Andrew fainted, possibly suffering a sunstroke. He "fell near me," wrote fellow soldier R.E. Holloway. "I thought he was dead but found upon opening his collar that he was still alive." He was carried into a tent or shack to recover and then was treated at a camp hospital. Wrote another soldier, William Ross: "I was standing near and helped to carry him into his tent and helped to take care of him afterward and after that his eye sight failed him so that he could not see to wright his Letters or Read...."

This famous image, courtesy of the Library of Congress, was made by famed photographer Alexander Gardner using wet glass collodion technology in use at the time. It shows the bodies of the conspirators dangling at the end of their nooses, having been dropped from the scaffold platform, surrounded by soldiers and spectators who are beginning to depart the scene. A crack in the glass plate is noticeable in the lower left-hand corner.



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Copyright 2017 Mark A. Miner