Friday, September 3, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Father Quinn

I love Civil War photographs and images from that era. TheY speak of such a time of upheaval, of unspeakable loss arising because men believed that war was the answer even when they weren't sure what the question was.

I love the images even more when I can learn a little bit about the subject of the photograph.

 Photo from Library of Congress Civil War Collection.

This is Father Thomas Quinn in his military uniform. He was a chaplain with the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery for a brief period of time, during which this photograph was captured. He mustered into the unit on November 8. 1861 and was discharged by special order effective January 3, 1861.

Prior to his tenure in the 1st R.I. Light Artillery, he had been chaplain to the Ist Rhode Island Infantry, serving with them at the first Battle of Manassas. After their service commitment ended, he joined the 3rd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment.  Several Irish Catholics enlisted in this unit and two of them were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of bravery during the war.


Some sources say that Fr. Quinn was Canadian-born, but the 1870 census lists his place of birth as Maine. He was born about 1820.  I can't find an entry for him in the 1880 Census, so he may have died fairly young.


10 comments:

Tattered and Lost said...

Love the attitude in the pose. Will forever wonder if it was truly him or the photographers suggestion.

Vicki Lane said...

Rather a dashing priest!

Marilyn said...

I love his clothes and the way he is standing, he looks so staunch.
I wish I had a photo of my great great grandfather as he came to NZ from America during the Civil War, was he dodging the war, working on whaling ships or after gold recently found in NZ; research shows that he was crew on a ship, that's all I know.

Joan said...

He doesn't look like a priest does he. He looks full of character.

Alan Burnett said...

There is always a special thrill when looking at photographs this old. They seem to reach right back and give us a connection to an age that, usually, we think of as pre-photographic. Thanks for sharing the image and adding so much rich history to it.

PattyF said...

Great photo, and excellent background information, Meri. I wonder ... is the tunic specific to a military priest, or was it what all the Rhode Islanders wore at that time? It makes him look very gallant. The only thing he's missing is a sabre.

Nancy said...

I agree: images are better when we know a little about the person, his/her life, the social and political climate in which he/she lived, etc. I think the uniform with the sash around the waist is very interesting.

Titania said...

A beautiful and interesting daguerreotype photograph. I guess his dashing uniform was more for formal wear then to go into the melee of a battle.

Martin H. said...

That's quite a picture from history, Meri. To think, the American civil war was going on when my great grandparents were probably just out of school.

Barbara and Nancy said...

It's hard to imagine such a fierce looking priest. If I was Catholic I wouldn't want to go to him for confession.
Very interesting post!