Most Americans have never seen a photograph of a Revolutionary War soldier. Probably most wouldn’t believe any such photos exist. This book proves they do – with images that are clear, telling portraits of men who fought for freedom more than 225 years ago. And their stories are riveting.
Joseph M. Bauman, a retired newspaper reporter, collected original daguerreotype images of Revolutionary War veterans for more than three decades and spent even more years researching them. He acquired eight, all of them fully identified and documented. (This book is a companion to another of the author's publications, a reprint of the 1864 book The Last Men of the Revolution, which has additional photographs of Revolutionary veterans. The reprint come with scans of five high-quality period print portrait photographs that the author owns. Find the Kindle reprint of The Last Men of the Revolution: http://www.amazon.com/Revolution-Writings-Joseph-Bauman-ebook/dp/B008GITZDG) Images of Americans who fought in the Revolution are exceptionally rare because few of the Patriots of 1775-'83 lived until the dawn of practical photography in the early 1840s; far fewer were daguerreotyped; many, probably most, of such daguerreotypes never carried identification; and finally, the ravages of time have claimed the vast majority of portraits from the 1840s and ‘50s. The eight daguerreotypes in DON'T TREAD ON ME are world’s largest collection of camera-original, fully-identified photographs of veterans of the War for Independence – the war that established the United States. Digging through myriad sources -- 18th and 19th century battle accounts, muster rolls, genealogical records, pension files, letters, period newspapers, town and county histories -- the author was able to flesh out the stories of these veterans. Once forgotten, now they are brought back, lively and engaging, virtues and flaws intact. They include a shoemaker, two ministers, a doctor who later managed a vast mercantile empire, a tavern-keeper, a settler of the Ohio frontier, a blacksmith and the captain of a coastal vessel. They suffered, starved and fought through the Revolution, and their experiences are thrilling -- from watching the beginning of the Boston Tea Party, to undergoing capture as a prisoner of war, to fighting in the Monmouth, Quaker Hill, Charleston, Bennington and Yorktown battles, to witnessing the final British surrender. As amazing as their stories are, the daguerreotype portraits are even more transfixing. Look at the strong, intelligent face of Dr. Eneas Munson, stare into his clear eyes: here is a man who risked his life in battle as a teenaged medic, and who saw and heard, up close, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the heavyset genius General Henry Knox. This is a thoroughly-researched, superbly-written and well-illustrated book. The stories and illustrations make a distant era immediate and vital.