The Revolutionary War ended in 1784… let that sink in for a second. While photography was invented in the 1820s and 1830s, 40-50 years after the war ended, it wasn’t until much later that the technology was used widely enough that normal people were having their pictures taken.
Well in 1864, 81 years after the war ended, Reverend E. B. Hillard and two photographers went on a mission: Travel New England, find veterans of the Revolutionary War, and publish them for the world and history to see!
These glass plate photos were later published into a book called The Last Men of the Revolution. Each man featured was over 100 years of age, and as you soon will tell, had varying degrees of health.
Now think about this one last fact and let it sink in: these men were mostly born in the early 1760s, making them in their early 20s during the war. Some of these men served alongside Washington, Greene, and Lee. They may have met guys like James Monroe or saw events like the crossing of the Delaware or the liberation of Boston.
It’s truly incredible to look into the faces of these heroes who helped create America, what a treasure to have these photos in tact.
Below are some of the images from that book:
It wasn’t until 1976 that these photos from Hillard were discovered by a reporter named Joe Bauman. It was then that he went back to look for other photos taken in the 40-50 year gap between the invention of the technology and Hillard’s book.
He found a bunch of men that were of an age that he felt could have served in the War and did due diligence on each to see who in fact did. The eight men pictured in the daguerreotypes below were those who fit the bill!
Should-out to George Fishley for wearing his traditional 1700s formalwear!
Do you have family that served in the Revolution? Tell us about them in the comments below!