c. 1865-1868? Stereoscopic view card of the cemetery which was renamed the Arlington National Cemetery. The perspective is taken at the top of a rise, with many gravestones stretching out on descending plateaus. The first row of stones is for a number of "Unknown U.S. Col'd. Soldier". There is a small line of text above that which is indecipherable. The stones in this photograph are quite plain, and differ from others recorded on Find-A-Grave for 1864. The stereoview itself is uncommon, not recorded on OCLC and this view is not held by the NYPL in this earlier, sharper edition.
In the second and third rows, there are gravestones marking deaths in late August through late September 1864. A group of names are visible, clearly Judah Simms, Anna Ross, Mary Fisher, Robt. Baden, Mary Taylor and Agnes Brooks. For some reason, these graves are not marked on Find-A-Grave, the giant website for graveyard & genealogy enthusiasts. On the FaG site, there is one stone for a J. Simms, in a different, more decorative style, and numbered 4900, from the Q. M. department with an unknown death date.
"Contraband(s)" is a term that came to mean an enslaved African American in a provisional state, neither slave nor freed. General Benjamin Butler, newly appointed commander at Fort Monroe and a shrewd military leader and lawyer, declared them in effect confiscated "contraband", and useful as they were willing to fight for the Union.
William Moody Chase of Baltimore was a prolific photographer and publisher who released numerous stereoviews of the eastern United States during the period 1865-1895. He issued at least 2,000 fine views during his long and varied career. His most common views are in the cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia & Boston respectively. In his earlier years he was the chief photographer, taking the majority of pictures himself. (The Yellowstone Stereoview Checklist).
Albumen photographs, series entitiled "Descriptive Views, By W. M. Chase. On the verso "Arlington, Illustrated and Described. Description B. No. (778 penciled in indicating "The North Field..." as titled above. There is a long description of the Arlington Grounds. Each view, rounded 3" x 3". Photograph quite dark, a small mark in the sky of the right image. Yellow card stock, the verso a little foxed.
There is a later edition with a slightly different orientation & title of this held at the NYPL (reference available by request). There is also a different view, but from the series "Descriptive Views" series by Chase. (reference available by request).
An intriguing and uncommon image. Item #27408