Private Thomas W. Timberlake of Co. G, 2nd Virginia Infantry found this child's portrait on the battlefield of Port Republic, Virginia, between the bodies of a Confederate soldier and a Federal soldier.
Photo: Steve Helber / AP
Sometimes real life can be unbelievable and like an exaggerated screenplay, and I think that this is one of those times. I was intrigued lately by the story of two young girls, whose images were found on Civil War battlefields and their data remain still unknown. In mid-June the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, USA gave publicity to these two portraits in order to shed some light onto the undiscovered identities. The only known fact is that the photographs were discovered among the lifeless bodies of soldiers during the American Civil War. Other than that, the rest is history and mystery. Both postures are staged and much alike; the girls are standing on chairs with the right hand touching the back of the seat. They are dressed in nice outfits and have neat hairstyles.
Actually, these are only two of the eight images in total, which were made known by the professionals of the Museum of Confederacy in hopes of tracing any descendants through facial resemblance or other means. Another interesting point of reference is the fast-growing appeal of photography at that time.
Who would have thought that museums could take up the role of mediator in bringing together people with their lost families? Then again, if it serves the common interest, why not?
Girl Museum Inc.