Sorting through a relative’s trunk in Nottoway County, Virginia, Herbert Wheary found this uncommonly handsome tintype of a young Confederate, James C. Gill. Private Gill was in the thick of things. As a seventeen-year-old student, writes Wheary, “he enlisted in the Nottoway Greys and fought at the First Manassas (or Bull Run). In 1862 Gill was wounded at Frayser’s Farm. His brother was killed helping him from the field.
“In 1863, Gill, now a sergeant major, was in the forefront when Pickett’s Charge briefly breached the Union line at Gettysburg. It was here, at the ‘high-water mark of the Confederacy,’ that James Gill fell wounded. He died a few days later.
“His story does not end there. In 1872 his body was among the many Confederate dead removed from Gettysburg and reburied at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. As I pass this cemetery, I often think of one of the eighteen thousand soldiers there who once posed so proudly in his new uniform.”