You just never know where you’ll find something…

A group of Civil War veterans in Bridgeport, CT

1916 group of CW vets in Bridgeport, CT. Photo is from the Bridgeport Public Library (see link in story)

I was looking over the website for the Bridgeport History Center the other day. BAck when I lived in the Park City I spent a lot of time at the Bridgeport Public Library and more specifically, at the Historical Collections Room. Say what you want about Bridgeport but there is a lot of history there and a great deal of it resides in the Bridgeport Public Library. It was especially easy to get lost in the massive manuscript history of the 17th Connecticut compiled by William Warren…and the City coffers usually ended up a few dollars richer after I paid my parking tickets when I forgot to feed the meters.

Anyway, while spending some time reading some of Mary Witkowski’s posts I came across an older one of Bridgeport’s Civil War veterans. Included in the post was this photo from their collection. The photo shows a group of old veterans of the Civil War attending a ceremony of some sorts (Decoration Day, perhaps?) in 1916. The war in Europe is still far away for most people and times are still somewhat kinder and gentler.

Anyway, I tend to look over these types of photos carefully because you just never know what you’ll find or see. Naturally, this is another one of those occasions. Look closer at the old gent standing third from the right and you’ll see a couple of medals on his chest. One of those medals is the regimental badge designed for the veterans of the 17th Connecticut. I’d need to double-check my dates, but those whiskers sure look a lot like Selah Blakeman’s. It’s worth a further look, anyway.Vet wearing 17th Connecticut badge

3 comments for “You just never know where you’ll find something…

  1. Bridget Carroll
    March 11, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Interesting new photo. Thank you. I have a question regarding the hats worn by the GAR vets. Some of them are derbies while others seem to be fedoras and other styles.

    Did the Connecticut 17th have a particular hat that would identify them?


    • admin
      March 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Well, the short answer to that question is “no”, although some soldiers were an exception to the rule (see Private Lewis of Company D here:

      I’ve seen photos of soldiers wearing pretty much every type of headgear that was available, from kepi’s to forage caps to Hardee hats. One letter I read mentioned hats being custom made for members of the regiment in Danbury, still known today as the “Hat City” and the home to many soldiers in Company C (and perhaps Private Lewis has one of them).

      Post-war, vets wore pretty much anything that was in fashion (unless they were wearing their GAR uniform). The 1889 monument dedication photo is a good example of the variety of hat worn the veterans of the regiment on social occasions…sometimes military-style and many times not!

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