This early 1860s Civil War CDV (carte de visite) portrait captures General Elon John Farnsworth, a Union Army general killed at Gettysburg. Photographed by Whitehurst Gallery, Washington, D.C.
This photo, sold by Britannic Auctions for $4,216 in August 2022, serves as a tangible link to the Civil War era.
The Story of General Elon John Farnsworth
General Elon John Farnsworth’s military journey commenced with his enlistment in the 8th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry at the onset of the Civil War. His leadership prowess quickly propelled him to the rank of company commander within the regiment. Farnsworth’s unit participated in over 40 battles and skirmishes, showcasing his tenacity and strategic acumen.
By mid-1863, Farnsworth transitioned to a pivotal role on the staff of General Alfred Pleasonton, who commanded a cavalry division in the esteemed Army of the Potomac. Farnsworth’s exemplary service earned him a promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers, solidifying his place among the Union’s distinguished military leaders.
The Gettysburg Campaign
General Farnsworth’s mark on history was etched during the Gettysburg campaign, where he found himself at the forefront of a crucial engagement. Tasked with leading a daring assault against Confederate forces under General J.E.B. Stuart, Farnsworth faced formidable odds. Despite initial reluctance, Farnsworth obeyed the orders of General Judson Kilpatrick, albeit with apprehension.
The ensuing assault, known as Farnsworth’s Charge, proved costly. Exposed to withering enemy fire, Farnsworth and his men suffered heavy casualties, including the loss of their leader.
General Farnsworth’s sacrifice underscored the grim realities of war and left an enduring legacy on the battlefield of Gettysburg.
Exploring Civil War Carte de Visites
Civil War CDVs, and other military images like the one depicting General Farnsworth, offer a glimpse into the lives of individuals who shaped the course of history. These photographic relics serve as tangible reminders of the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians alike during this tumultuous period in American history.
The Value of Identified Civil War CDVs
Identifying individuals in Civil War CDVs adds layers of historical significance and enhances their collectible value.
Through research and archival sleuthing, historians and collectors endeavor to unveil the identities of those captured in these portraits. The discovery of a CDV depicting a notable figure, such as General Farnsworth, can provide invaluable insights into the personal narratives intertwined with the broader history of the Civil War.
Discover Your Piece of History
If you possess a Civil War CDV or collection, Britannic Auctions offers a consignment process tailored to meet your needs. We’re happy to provide a complimentary valuation and guide you through the auction journey. Visit our consignment page to begin uncovering the historical treasures within your collection.