THE LAST LIVING VETERANS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Moore, N. A. and R. A.. A collection of all six portraits of the last surviving veterans of the American Revolution
Hartford: Moore, 1864
Six albumen prints (2 ¼ x 3 ½ in.), original carte de visite mounts with caption on recto and publisher imprint on verso. Fine condition.
These is a complete collection of original carte de visite photographs of all six Revolutionary War veterans still surviving in 1864: William Hutchings (aged 100), Samuel Downing (aged 102), Daniel Waldo (aged 102), Adam Link (aged 102), Alexander Millener (aka Muroney) (aged 104), and Lemuel Cook (aged 105). A seventh man, James Barham, was believed to be alive but could not be located for the series.
These ancient veterans, all of whom had all enlisted as boys, were America’s last link to the American Revolution as the Civil War was being fought to preserve the Union. Elias Hilliard sought the men out, photographed them in their homes, and published the portraits both individually and in a book, The Last Men of the Revolution (Hartford, 1864). Publication of the photographs and the book sparked national interest in the six surviving veterans of the Revolutionary War. In 1865 Congress granted the survivors a $300 pension, but by then Waldo and Link had already died.
Complete sets of the individual photographs, ideally suited for simultaneous display, are rare in the market. Each carte bears a printed caption with the subject’s name, age, and the phrase “One of the survivors of the revolution,’ together with a copyright notice.
“The photographs were made uniformly under makeshift circumstances as would have been required if the photographs were made in situ while Hilliard visited each for a personal interview” (Goldschmidt and Naef, The Truthful Lens). The photographs are by Hartford photographers N. A. and R. A. Moore, who were accustomed to taking photographs under unusual circumstances. Their extant photographs include the fallen Charter Oak (1856), a balloon ascension in Hartford (1863), and the aftermath of the fire at the Colt Fire Arms Manufactory (1864).
These photographs are in outstanding condition, far superior to the images usually found in the book publication.
The men are:
Lemuel Cook. Fought at Brandywine and in Virginia and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis.
William Hutchings. Joined the Massachusetts militia at age fifteen. He recalled that Washington “ordered that there should be no laughing at the British; it was bad enough to have to surrender without being insulted.”
Samuel Downing. Fought in various battles including Saratoga, and claimed to have been a bodyguard for George Washington.
Daniel Waldo. Joined the Continental Army in 1778 at age sixteen and was taken prisoner in 1779.
Adam Link. Enlisted at age sixteen and fought on the frontier.
Alexander Millener. Enlisted by his stepfather under his name (Muroney), Millener served as a drummer boy for the duration of the war.