Sixth plate melainotype of Edward Livingston Hopkins of Natchez, Mississippi wearing a secession cockade

Sixth plate melainotype of Lieutenant Edward Livingston Hopkins of Natchez, Mississippi wearing a secession cockade

Edward Livingston Hopkins was born on June 14, 1834 in Flatbush, New York to John Derrick Hopkins (1808-1885) and Jane Jones (1811-1895).  His parents emigrated to the United States from England on December 5, 1833.  John was a carriage maker and artist.  It seems that he primarily performed carriage painting.  They were living in New York during the 1840 census but moved to Natchez, Mississippi in the following years.  

By the 1860 census Edward had entered the business world as a saddler.  He reportedly worked at the prominent saddler, harness and carriage company of the area, Livingston and Rountree.  It was about at this time (1859-1860) that he entered a local militia company, the Adams Light Guard, as a lieutenant.  When the war began this unit would become Company D of the 16th Mississippi Infantry after a brief stint in state service.  Edward entered as a 2nd lieutenant.  The unit was sent to the eastern theater and was mainly training until elections were held at the end of the one year enlistment.  He was not elected as an officer at that time and he resigned to return to Mississippi.  He then enlisted on May 4, 1862 in Jackson, Mississippi as a Junior 2nd Lieutenant in Company F of the 31st Louisiana Infantry.  He would be promoted to full 2nd Lieutenant on January 1, 1863.  The unit was engaged at Chickasaw Bluff and lost 9 killed and 16 wounded.  Edward was surrendered at Vicksburg in July 1863 and paroled.  The unit was placed in A. Thomas’ Brigade in the Trans-Mississippi Department and fought in various conflicts in Louisiana.  He was eventually promoted to 1st Lieutenant.  The 31st was consolidated in January 1864 with the 3rd, 17th, 21st (Patton’s), 22nd, 26th, 27th and 28th (Thomas’) Louisiana Infantry Regiments to form the 22nd Louisiana Infantry Regiment.  

Kepi and facial detail

After the war Edward would move back to Natchez.  He apparently moved to Galveston, Texas briefly as he is listed there in the 1870 census.  He is back in Natchez by the 1880 census as a saddler and living with his parents.  He would work for the firm Rumble and Wensel for a time and in 1888 he opened his own business, Messrs. Hopkins & Co, where he continued to sell saddles, harnesses and carriages.  It appears that he was married for a brief period of time as the 1890 census notes that he was widowed and married in 1882.  He died on May 31, 1910 in the home of his nephew and is buried in the Natchez City Cemetery.  

Detail of secession cockade with tinting

In this finely tinted melainotype he is wearing a gray shell jacket with dark piping to the center and collar.   There are two rows of dark piping at the sleeves.  He wears a secession cockade on his jacket that is tinted red and blue.  His kepi is gray with a dark band.  His trousers have been tinted as well. He is identified behind the image in period writing “Edward L. Hopkins”.  This is likely the uniform of the Adams Light Guard when they entered Confederate service.  Company D was commanded by Captain Samuel E. Baker and the regiment was initially commanded by Colonel (future General) Carnot Posey.