Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Need Help in Identifying a Soldier

I recently obtained this CDV because on the back it has "Newport, Kentucky" written on it and since I live near that city, it quickly got my attention and interest. (The fact that the photographer was located just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati also adds to my intrigue.)

I need help in two areas (but I realize that my scanning and image manipulation skills are not perfect. If a better or more detailed scan will help, please let me know)

1. What type of information does the uniform coat give? I am not a re-enactor nor an expert in period uniforms or equipment. It appears to be a frock coat perhaps, and there seems to be some striping on the sleeve. Does this indicate a rank or is it likely to have been for his branch of service (yellow for cavalry, blue for infantry, red for artillery from what I understand.)

2. Can anyone read the name on the back and find anything for him in the Soldiers and Sailors System or any other records? I thought it might be something like "G.W. Fly or Ply" but could not find any soldiers from Kentucky to match that.

I did find a "Gilbert Ely" in the Soldiers and Sailors System and he was in the 1st Kentucky Infantry. This seems to make sense because the first few Kentucky regiments were mustered in in Ohio as Kentucky attempted to be neutral, and Newport is located along the Ohio River, so the commute to enlist would be quick and easy for a soldier from that town. (Of course, I am not 100% sure the first letter is a "G." Most of the time I look and think it may be "F" or "T" or anything but a "G.")

That index shows that Mr. Ely enlisted as a sergeant and mustered out as a lieutenant. That is why I am hoping that the uniform picture may somehow provide some sort of clue.

Of course, he may not have been in Newport or even Kentucky when he enlisted. Maybe he moved and lived there only when the picture was taken. Maybe there is another explanation for that writing that does not help answer my questions, but, at the very least, this is a fascinating clue and one that I hope can help lead me to figuring out who this man was and more information about his life.

Thanks in advance for any help, either on my questions above or suggestions on where else to look.

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