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. 

1853-1856 Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of a Probable Mardi Gras Page by Edward Jacobs of New Orleans

c 1853-1856 Quarter plate daguerreotype of a possible Mardi Gras page by Edward Jacobs Author’s collection

This quarter plate daguerreotype depicts a young boy in striped pants, a jacket with lace up sleeves, and a white shirt with a stiff, ruffled collar and cuffs.  There is an elaborate hat that rests on the table beside him. Given his costume, this boy likely served on the Mardi Gras court, as an attendant to the queen. The image was taken by Edward Jacobs of New Orleans and contains his studio imprint “E. Jacobs, N.O.” on the mat.  

The image is housed in a Rinhart #260 (Roses and Bluebells) leather case.  This case was introduced in about 1853.  The mat is a modified nonpareil that was primarily used from 1843-1849 but had use in the early to mid 1850’s as well.  The mat contains a sandy texture with an inside bevel.  The image contains a preserver (Nolan s_horseshoes) that was in common use from 1850-1856.  Given these characteristics it is likely that the image was made between 1853-1856.  

The image was previously part of the Eugene R. Groves Collection of 19th Century Photography.

Detail of face and collar
Hat detail
Sleeve detail also showing striped pants
Edward Jacobs studio stamped mat

Edward Jacobs (1813-1892) was born in England and was an active artist and photographer in New Orleans from 1844-1864. He initially established a daguerrian gallery at 1 Camp Street in 1844 and was in partnership with Charles E. Johnson for a period of time. In the fall of 1846 Edward White took over the gallery and it is likely that Jacobs continued to work from the gallery. It is reported that he was one of several New Orleans daguerreotypists who took a portrait of General Zachary Taylor in 1847 while he was visiting the city.

In about 1850 Jacobs established his own gallery at 93 Camp Street and embarked on a period of time that would establish him as one of the premier photographers in New Orleans. It was during this time that this image was likely taken.

Case. Rinhart #260

References:

Cowan’s Auctions. Auction Listing, 2020

Nolan, Sean William. Fixed in Time. 3rd edition, 2017

Palmquist, Peter E. and Thomas R. Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary, 1839-1865.

Rinhart, Floyd and Marion. American Miniature Case Art. 1969

Battle of Shiloh Letter by Sergeant Franklin Augustus O’Neil, 2nd Regiment Confederate Infantry (Mississippi) to his wife

This letter was penned on April 18, 1862 from Sergeant Franklin Augustus O’Neil of Company H (later D), 2nd Regiment Confederate Infantry (Bowen’s Brigade) to his wife about his experiences in the Battle of Shiloh.  The letter is a highly personal vivid account of the battle.  O’Neil would be elected 1st Lieutenant of Company D, 1st Mississippi Battalion Sharpshooters upon realignment in May 1862.  He was from Carroll County, Mississippi and apparently left his unit in 1863 and moved with his wife to Texas.

The letter reads:

Corinth, Miss.

Apr. 18, 1862

My dear Wife:

This morning I sent you a letter and now will write you another and will try to give you some of the incidents of the battle of Shiloh, fought on the 6thand 7thof this month.  On Monday night before 10 o’clock we got orders to cook 2 days rations and be ready to march by 10 o’clock the same night.  By that time we were called into line and marched into Iuka, a distance of 9 or 10 miles from Burnesville (the latter being the place where we were stationed) reaching there about an hour by sun Tuesday morning.  We there found a large number of our forces drawn up in line of battle and altogether everything looked more like a fight that anything I have ever seen before.  We took an advanced position stacked arms, ate breakfast and layed down to rest which was very much needed after marching the night before over the most awful road, often half leg deep in mud and water, wetting our feet thoroughly.  On the march we were halted to rest a little just before day.  I laid my head on a pine limb and had a refreshing little sleep.

All day Tuesday we lay in the woods near Iuka and also Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning about sun up a brisk fire began in front of us, which we believed to be the enemy driving in our Pickets but soon found out better.  I must own I felt serious when I expected soon to be engaged in a bloody strife and was glad when I found out better.  We were called into line and marched back to our camp at Burnesville, getting there about 1 o’clock.  Immediately on our arrival we had orders to cook five days rations and be ready to march at a moments warning.  Notwithstanding the fatigue of the march the men went willingly to work after a few minutes rest and by 12 o’clock that night all were ready and we laid down to rest.

Just before day Thursday, the long roll beat, all were soon up and armed ready for march.  Just about that time the clouds opened and a powerful rain soaked us to the skin.  I was more fortunate than the rest for as soon as the rain began I ran to a little house near by and kept dry.  About sun up the rain stopped and we were put in line ready for the march.  The 15thregiment passed us at that time and I recognized many of my friends but had not time to converse with any of them.  We were soon put in motion and marched all day over terrible roads, and for several hours in the morning it rained a slow rain, enough to wet up and make our blankets heavy to carry.  Many of the men threw away their blankets.  That day we marched 22 miles and lay down in an old field without tents and again that night we had a big rain and wind which made us wet.

Friday morning early we started and made that day only about 8 miles and camped again in an open place without tents, and it was said in 2 or 3 miles of the enemy.  That night which was Saturday, we had no rain, but my sleep was not sweet.  I had frightful dreams.  Sunday morning just as day peeped along the eastern horizon a few Vollies of musketry was heard to our north and soon after it was a continued and general roar of small arms accompanied by the heavy booming of cannon which made the very earth shake.

My thoughts were of you, and I knew well that day would send sorrow to many a happy home.  We were soon started toward the battlefield but we did not get to fire a gun until 1 o’clock Sunday.  About a mile and a half from the battleground we were marched out into an old field, there formed in line of battle, our knapsacks and blankets put in piles and we moved double quick most of the time.  It was not long before we met the wounded going back, some slightly wounded and others severely, in wagons.  They all told us the enemy was giving back. Some poor fellows looked gastly from loss of blood but they waved their hats and encouraged us on.

Next thing we came in sight of was the Yankee camps and then we began to see the marks of the balls on the sides of the trees mostly very high up.  When in a hundred yards or so of the camp we saw a few dead of both sides, mostly shot thru the head.  One poor fellow of our side was lying near the road shot thru the head; He was laying on his back with both legs doubled back under him.  The firing was still a good ways from us, the enemy giving back.  We then turned to the right and were marched about half a mile and halted. That was about 12 o’clock. About 200 yards in from of us there was a party of men (I don’t known what brigade) drawn up in a battle. Not long after that they opened fire and I knew then that our part would soon be opened.  The order “Load” rang along our lines:  I found that with my flask, ball and patch I could load faster than the rest.  We were then marched back a short distance and the lamented Johnston rode up to us, made a short speech which I could not hear, and we moved rapidly toward a little field where there was a heavy fire going on.  I could not see our men engaged.  We passed thru a deep hollow full of thick bushes and in that place one of our company was shot thru the leg and left on the field.  I had no idea we were in range of any guns but some of the boys said they heard balls whistling.

I went running thru the briars and bushes to listen for balls.  I knew it was my duty to go, if it was to poke my head in the mouth of a cannon.  On getting into the opening I saw that the Yanks had given way, but there lay our men dying and dead.  We then stopped and it looked to me like no one knew what to do.  We were marched a little in one direction and then in another, not long though before we were cut off in double quick, passed thru another little field and a Yankee camp, and just as we reached the far side our men all fired into a thicket, but so save my life, with all the eyes I had I could see nothing in the shape of a Yankee and consequently did not fire.  The ball I had in was put there to kill a Yank.  We went then about 75 or 100 yards further and sat down on the brink of a very steep hill while heavy firing was going on to our right.  Balls were flying over and around us all the time. I kept a sharp lookout for a Yank, for as yet I had not seen a well one and must so, I wanted to see one. I was not long waiting for I soon saw one of the blue coat boys standing behind a tree shooting at us something like 200 yards off.  I asked permission to rout him which was gived.  I then advanced a few steps in front of our lines to a log and when the scoundrel would put part of his body round the tree to fire on us (and he was careful not to expose much of  his body) I would send a leaden messenger over there which soon made the place too hot for him, for the third broadside from my old deer gun made him leave at a little more than double quick.  Soon after that we advanced to the next hill and came suddenly on a large body of skirmishes, then had some fair shots at about 400 yards, but could not tell with what effect.  Several of the enemy were killed and the rest soon fled.  At that place one of our men, Joe Holder, was shot thru the side of the face.  We then advanced rapidly to the next Ridge, passing, it seemed, over ground when some time that had been fought a desperate battle, for one or two little hollows were full of dead Yankees.  It was there that I saw more of their dead than any other place.  On rising that ridge the next beyond burst out in a blaze of fire and our regiment was soon cut to pieces.  I first stood out in open view and fired; but I looked around and saw everybody else behind trees, logs and stumps, so I stepped behind a tree myself but they crowded me so I could not use my gun as I wanted to.  On looking somewhat in advance of the regiment I saw a large stump which I ran to and fired near 20 times and not a time without seeing a live Yank to sight at.

All this time many were falling around but that was not my business.  I was to kill men and was doing my best.  Our flag was soon shot to pieces and has since been sent to Grenada.  Two cannon balls went thru it, one through the upper and lower bar. They did not make round holes as one might think they were torn by bushes, but they are certainly the mark of cannon balls.  You must go and see it.  At last we had the order to advance, and we uncovered and advanced a few steps further and after firing a few rounds Tom Harper was shot and fell down before me.  Capt. Rayburn was near and ordered me to take him to the rear which I did, also three other boys that had been shot and in taking them the balls fell like hail and I felt more in danger than at any other time.  We were fully exposed and I knew well that they would shoot at us.  As soon as I took them to a place of safety and gave them water I returned.  I don’t think the firing lasted more than 15 minutes after I left.

While we were falling so fast before the tremendous fire of the enemy the 15thregiment came up on our left and opened fire but I did not notice till afterward for when they came all was smoke and every man for himself.  It was at this place and from what Rayburn says, in 20 steps of there I was fighting that your brother Frank fell.  It seemed strange that some of us did not know some of that regiment while we were fighting but we did not.  Our eyes were fixed on the enemy.  When I came back after giving our boys water and directing them to the hospital I could not find my regiment and hurried across the ridge covered with dead and wounded and must have passed within a few steps of Frank, I hurried on in the direction of the firing and pitched in with another regiment, but the firing was soon over and the fighting was done for the day except the shelling of us from the gun boats.  When I could no longer find a Yankee to shoot at I went on toward the river under command of no one but myself, and I began to think I was a pretty good regiment.  I went up on the left of some regiment that was drawn up in line near the river in a little field and while there a shell fell about the center of them, and the way that regiment got away and your humble servant too, was a sight.  I guess I made old legs run some that time.

In going back a little ways I met my regiment coming up and I pitched in with them and went sill nearer the river than before, but it was of no use.  The balls and bombs were thrown so thick and fast that no troops could stand before them.  We laid down and covered best we could and retreated by going between hills and such places as would shut us out of the shells.  You never saw such dodging in all your life.  I noticed some could not help it.  I dodged some times when they whistled unusually near my head, but not often for I looked to see them but never saw but one and that was in the first hard fight we had.  I saw a ball pass close to my head.  It was while I was lying behind my stump shooting so fast. They must have seen my position and shot it with their rifle cannon which it seemed they could use with as much accuracy as we could our small arms.  Several musket balls struck the stump while I lay behind it.

When we got out of range of the gun boats the sun was down and we turned into some Yankee camps and lay down for the night.  There was everything in the camp you could call for.  Jack and I made some coffee, had cheese, crackers, butter and everything.  We got a lot of Yankee letters and read and laughed over them, then made us a bed of Yankee blankets and overcoats and lay down to sleep and we slept too, though they fired their bombs out from the river all night none of them fell in our camp, but I learned they fell in others and killed some more through the night.  We then had a complete victory and If Buel had not arrived with reinforcements they would never have shown fight again at that place.  But that night he came and many a poor fellow that had escaped the first day unhurt was doomed to fall the next.  By light Monday we were up and hardly got into line before that heavy musketry broke on our ears which told that the destruction of human life had commenced again.  We moved a little to the left and soon the enemies balls were whistling thru our ranks.  I noticed our men were not in a condition to fight.  They had lost their energy; they seemed not to care which way the battle went.  We soon retired behind a hill and stopped with but little loss on our side.  The Yanks came up on top of the hill and we raised a whoop and started toward them.  They would not stand – they ran, leaving their overcoats behind.  I with several others, got upon the hill in time to get a good fair shot at three of the fellows running through an opening.  As the smoke cleared away I saw them double and take one of the others, holding him under the arms, I don’t know whether I shot him because there were other guns firing at the same time.

It was now our turn to run, so we ran under the hill and waited until we thought they were close enough, raised a whoop and went back but this time the enemy could not be seen, but still the balls fell thick and fast, killing several out of the regiment, and one out of our company who was shot thru the head and fell dead at my feet. I never fired atall because I could see nothing to shoot  We soon retreated from that part of the battle ground and must have gone a mile when we were called into action again and had such a fight as the first. They would run a while, then we would run some.  In the last fight we never lost a man, killed nor wounded.  I thought the roar of battle was greater than at any other time.  After fighting til 2 or 3 o’clock Monday it seemed to me the firing ceased by the consent of both parties and we quietly and in good order left the bloody place.  But how many slept the long sleep of death on the battlefield, that a few hours before were well and in the prime of life.

I have told you before what I brought away.  I could have got anything almost that belongs to an army, but the first place I wanted the enemy off of our land and did not take time to pick up plunder and in the next place I had a great horror of being killed with Yankee booty about me.  If I had known when we were coming away I would have got an Enfield rifle.  Jack and I picked a tea kettle from the field over the worst road I ever saw.  On the battle field there are many things to excite: horses shot dead and many standing about with their legs broken.  Dead men could be seen everywhere lying in all positions. Some had been laid straight and blankets spread over them and other were laid with their hats over their faces. I suppose their friends did it for them when they had time knowing it was the last act of kindness. Nearly all were lying as they fell when they were shot.  Some had their features but little changed while others were so much changed that I thought it impossible for their friends to recognize them by their features.  Many of their faces were much swollen and almost black; I saw one poor fellow lying on his right side with his head on a small limb which he had tightly grasped with both hands.   Poor Harris who was shot thru the head by me Monday fell backwards with his head turned under his back.  I straightened it out and when I left he was turning very black in the face.  Marks of cannon balls were to be seen everywhere and I saw one tree shot through and through which was a least 18 inches thick.

One thing that disgusted me as much, I might say more than anything else was – an officer of our army going over the field looking in the pockets of the dead.  I saw him go up to a Yankee that was lying by a tree, too badly wounded to move, and ask him if he had any money.  I have no doubt hundreds of our men further back were engaged in the same business.

You have seen in the papers that our men sought plunder more than victory, and it is all so with at least one third of our men.  I acted my part coolly and calmly did all I could to kill enemies of our liberties and shall act so in the future.  You seem to fear that our next battle will be bloodier than the first, but I don’t think I will ever get in so heavy a fire again.  All day Monday we fought and lost but few men and such is the case generally in battle.

Sunday our little regiment was exposed to the concentrated fire of the entire brigade of General Prentice.  We did not capture them but we fought them and crippled them until they were flanked by another part of the army.  As we were going to the fight Sunday morning I had sight of Gen. Beauregard; as I expected he is flesh, blood and looks like other men.  He is low of stature, and his hair is nearly white though not from age. Gen. Johnston was a large heavy set man and I liked his appearance very much.  I have no doubt but that he was an able Gen, and our country has lost one of its best men.   I understand that he exposed himself more than he ought to have done. But he knew to lose that battle was his ruin, for many had already blamed him for the reverses we had before.  And now another defeat would have ruined him.  I have told you, I think, of the rain we had on us returning to Corinth for two days and nights.  I was wet to the skin but I bore it well.  I have not been sick since.  A great many of the men are sick and getting sick.  I have no doubt from exposure Sunday, Monday and the two days coming to Corinth.

Yesterday I head Congress passed an act to keep the men now in service 2 years more.  If it is so it is for the best.  If all the twelve months men were disbanded this spring we would have no army and the Yankees would make an easy conquest. To give up now is our destruction.

Your devoted husband,

F.A. O’Neil

Co D, Miss. Battalion, Bowen Brigade

Battle of Shiloh

Montesque Campbell Nixon of North Carolina

Nixon

Half plate ambrotype of Captain Montesque Campbell Nixon of Company I, 1st Regiment North Carolina Junior Reserves by an unknown photographer

Montesque Campbell Nixon (1848-1869) enlisted on 1 October 1861 as a private in Howard’s (William C. Howard) North Carolina Cavalry Company.  This company was “to be employed for the defense of the city of Wilmington and its vicinity extending to the sea coast”.  He mustered out on 7 June 1862.  Nixon became the captain of a company of Junior Reserves in Broadfoot’s 1st Battalion North Carolina Junior Reserves on May 18, 1864 at Camp Holmes.  This unit later became Company I of the 1st North Carolina Junior Reserves.  They mustered into Confederate service on July 16, 1864.  He required a hospital transfer on February 8, 1865 and was admitted to C.S.A. General Hospital No. 3 in Greensboro, North Carolina due to typhoid fever on February 13.  He reportedly returned to duty March 8 but is listed on a roll of personnel paroled on April 26, 1865 after the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston’s army while at Hospital No. 2 in Greensboro.

Nixon was the son of Hiram R. and Eliza Nixon of Wilmington (New Hanover County), North Carolina.  After the war, he apparently owned a local package transportation service (“Monte” Nixon’s Express, Wilmington Daily Dispatch, March 5, 1866 and The Daily Standard, Raleigh, NC June 10, 1869) in Wilmington.  Also advertised as the City Express Wagon, it was managed by Mr. S. Bowden and was promoted to take parcels and packages to and from the railroad depots and steamboat landings.  He died in Goldsboro on June 3, 1869 (The Wilmington Morning Star, June 6, 1869).
He likely died of consumption as a future obituary of a sibling notes that all Ms. Eliza Nixon’s children died of consumption.

Hiram R. Nixon owned a livery stables in Wilmington at the corner of Princess and Third streets, across from the courthouse. He was also noted an “inspector of provisions” in the 1860 Federal Census. Apparently quite the entrepreneur, it is noted in the August 15, 1855 Weekly Standard (Raleigh, N.C.) that he opened a new hotel in Goldsboro.

Montesque Campbell was named after his uncle of the same name.  The elder M.C. Nixon was a planter and owned Oakley plantation on Topsail Sound.  He apparently considered moving west in 1844 as newspaper ads reported that Oakley was for sale. It is described in the ad as “12 miles and a half from Wilmington on Topsail Sound, containing 400 acres…, the dwelling house is situated on a high bluff, overlooking the ocean, with a fine inlet in front”. He also apparently had a home in Wilmington on Princess Street between 8th and 9th streets. He died November 26, 1893 at the age of 78 at the home of his daughter in Wilmington, Mrs. S.H. Burtt. He is buried at Bellevue Cemetery.

MCNixonElder

Sixth plate daguerreotype of Montesque Campbell Nixon of Topsail Island, North Carolina

Based on a letter that accompanied the image of the younger Nixon, it was passed down through Nixon’s nice, Ms. Hattie Dillon. Hattie was the daughter of Nina A. Nixon and Dan Dillon (married February 5, 1873 in Wayne County). Hattie was born in 1876.   Nina and Dan had a son, Richard Nixon Dillon, who died at 5 months of age on June 20, 1874. Nina died on February 16, 1882 at age 25 due to consumption. The obituary from the Goldsboro Messenger of February 20, 1882 notes that Nina was the last of five children of Eliza Nixon that died of consumption. Although Hattie is not mentioned by name in the obituary, it was noted that she left a six-year old daughter.   Hattie apparently never married and lived for a period in Raleigh (The Goldsboro Headlight, February 6, 1896) in the late 1800’s before moving back to Goldsboro. There are numerous newspaper clippings from the early 1900’s in which she is attempting to rent and then sell her property and lots on the corner of John and Oak streets in Goldsboro.

The young Montesque Campbell’s grandfather was Nicholas Nixon (1763-1843). He married Nancy Ann Nichols on 13 July 1979 in New Hanover County. In addition to Hiram and the elder Montesque Campbell, they had a few other children including planters Nicholas Nichols Nixon (1800-1868), Jeremiah Nixon, and Robert Burns Nixon (1788-1839).

The elder Nicholas is buried in the Nixon Cemetery in Hampstead, Pender County, North Carolina. There are reportedly six Nixon cemeteries near the Sloop Point and Woodside areas in Hampstead.