Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Robert B. Graham and the 7th Cavalry, Missouri State Militia

I have a few "saved" searches set up on Ebay that alert me when an item of interest may be available. This morning, one of my saved searches pinged me. The search was "7th Cavalry, Missouri State Militia." The item is a really neat collection here. (I don't know how long that link will work) For me, the best part of the offering is this photograph:

This picture is a 1/2 plate partially hand colored ambrotype image of six soldiers from the 7th Cavalry, Missouri State Militia during the Civil War. In their hands are playing cards and they have cigars in their mouths.

My great-great grandfather, Robert Barnett Graham, served with Company A of the 7th Cavalry in Missouri during the Civil War. Prior to that, he had served in the
Enrolled Missouri Militia under Captain Cunningham.

Could one of these six men be Robert?

I have a muster and descriptive roll card for Robert Barnett Graham. He mustered in on November 7, 1863 to the 7th Cavalry. He is described as 6 feet tall, light complexion with dark hair. His horse was valued at $120 and his horse equipment valued at $25. Admittedly, it is a pretty vague description and not enough to verify or identify him as one of the men in the photo.

Even if Robert is not among them, (and chances are he is not), it gives me a glimpse into how he may have looked, the uniform he wore, and the guys he served with.

I've started reading about the Civil War in Missouri with a book called "Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri." One of my research goals is to someday dig into the unit history for Company A and try to retrace some of Robert Barnett's actions during the war. His obituary says that he did indeed see a lot of action, and had some narrow escapes.

In the meantime, I can gaze at this photograph and imagine what it must have been like for these men. Fighting a war where you didn't know exactly who or where your enemy was. Chasing guerrillas into Kansas and defending the homesteads. Fascinating!

Anyone wanna give me $2,500 to buy it on Ebay??

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