Sergeant Alex Rogers with Battle Flag, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac
Albumen silver print from glass negative
5.6 x 8.9 cm (2 3/16 x 3 1/2 in.)
Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2013
Not on view
This unusual horizontal carte de visite—a period copy of a now-lost ambrotype or tintype—shows Sergeant Alex Rogers proudly posing for the camera holding the scarred colors, or flag, of the Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers. He and his fellow soldiers fought on virtually every Eastern battlefield and suffered the second highest number of battle deaths of any Union regiment. As seen here, infantry flags were large—more than six feet in length—and affixed to staffs almost ten feet tall that made them easy to rally around during the mess of battle. Their size, however, also made them targets for enemy fire and contributed to the high mortality rate of color bearers.