Officers of the Sixty-ninth New York State Militia
Fort Corcoran, Virginia
In the late spring of 1861, Mathew Brady photographed the soldiers of the Sixty-ninth New York infantry regiment on the ramparts of the fort protecting the Virginia end of the Aqueduct Bridge, just south of the Potomac River. The men of the "Fighting Sixty-ninth" posed around their powerful modern howitzer cannon with pride. One of the earliest forts constructed to protect the capital, this one was soon named for its first commander, Colonel Michael Corcoran, who was taken prisoner the following July, during the Battle of Bull Run. Brady's contemporaries viewed photographs like this one with bitter nostalgia, for they portrayed men who believed that the war would soon be over, though it had barely begun.

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print, 1861
27.9 x 35.6 cm (11 x 14 inches) board, 22 x 28 inches matted
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.