Tag Archives: Memento Mori
A girl in mourning clothes holds an image of her father during the Civil War (Library of Congress)

Bonds Between Women & Daguerreotypes of A Dying Man in 1862

Families often relied on volunteer nurses to keep them informed of a loved one’s condition in hospital. Over time, bonds could develop between these caregivers and the soldier’s wives far away. The correspondence below, written by Emma Smith from St. Elizabeth Hospital, Washington D.C. to Sarah Welsh in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, are a case in point. This poignant collection of […]

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Sergeant James Fegan, his wife and son (Philadelphia Inquirer)

‘Drop the Liftinant A Curtsey, Woman!': The Long Service of Sergeant James Fegan, 3rd US Infantry

The 29th October 1851 was a good day for the United States army. That was the date that 24-year-old Irish laborer, James Fegan, decided to enlist. He must have cut an impressive figure standing in front of Captain Westcott, a recruiting officer for the 2nd US Infantry. Towering at over 6 feet in height, Fegan […]

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