[CDV Photograph of Drum Major George S. Beale, 68th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry].
Full-length portrait photograph of Drum Major George S. Beale of the 68th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry. Beale is shown in uniform, holding a sword and wearing a sash and white gauntlets.
In 1864, George S. Beale (c.1844–?) of Belleville, Illinois was mustered into the 49th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, serving in Company “E.” In February 1865, he was discharged from that regiment as a musician and joined the 68th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry which had been organized from the 4th Missouri Colored Infantry as part of the 1st Colored Brigade of Memphis, serving in that latter place until the end of the month. It seems likely, therefore, that it was in this brief interval, at the start of his new posting, that Beale had his photograph taken by J.W. Taft, a photographer in Memphis.
The 68th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry subsequently campaigned in Florida and Alabama etc., participating in the siege and capture of Fort Blakeley, the occupation of Mobile, the march to Montgomery, and, later, at various places along the Rio Grande in Texas. The 68th Regiment was mustered out of service in February 1866.
In 1926, Beale’s widow, Mattie E. Beale, is shown in the Congressional record receiving a widow’s pension of $30 per month.
Rare identified and hitherto unknown photograph of a white non-commissioned officer serving in a Black American regiment, taken in a Southern photographer’s studio.
Description: [CDV Photograph of Drum Major George S. Beale, 68th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry].
Memphis, Tenn.: Oak Gallery, J.W. Taft, Artist, nd . Carte de visite Photograph. Approx. 3½ x 2¼ inches (laid down on a 4 x 2½ inch card). Backmark reads “Oak Gallery, | 282½ Main St., Memphis Tenn. J.W. Taft, Artist”. A 3-cent U.S. Internal Revenue Proprietary stamp is affixed on the verso. Inscribed by the subject on the verso: “Yours Truly, | George S. Beale, | Drum Maj 68th | U S Colrd Inf”. Small spot in lower margin; Near Fine.
Refs. Roster of Company E 49th Illinois Infantry and George S Beale: Person, pictures and information… and U.S. Colored Troops [(St. Louis’) U.S. Colored Troops and the Plight of the Refugee Slave] all accessed online.