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Fair Oaks, Va.

Lt. James B. Washington, a Confederate prisoner, with Capt. George A. Custer of the 5th Cavalry, U.S.A.

Lt. Washington, an Aide on Commanding General Joe Johnston's staff was sent galloping off down the Nine Mile Road toward the Fair Oaks Station sometime before 10am on 31 May looking for General Longstreet. Longstreet's attack on the Federal Position at Seven Pines appeared to have been delayed, and General Johnston needed to know why. His previous courier had initially sent back word that he had not found General Longstreet where he was expected to be.

Lt Washington did not return that morning to Headquarters because he mistakenly ran into the Federal picket line and was captured. He was reported "silent under questioning", but certainly aroused suspicions among the Federals who probably did not yet know the details of the coming attack. What was General Johnston's aide doing so far from headquarters? What were the Rebels up to in the sector?
(source: Freeman, D. S., Lee's Lieutenants, Vol. I, pg.233, Scribner's, NY, 1942; citing the OR)

Apparently Lt Washington and Capt Custer had been classmates at the Military Academy at West Point (Class of 1861).

The complete photo is at the Library of Congress Online, and is part of their Civil War Photograph collection.

PHOTOGRAPHER Gibson, James F., b. 1828


MEDIUM 1 negative : glass, wet collodion.

REPOSITORY Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA


REPRODUCTION NUMBER LC-B8171-0428 DLC (b&w film neg.)

COLLECTION Selected Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 (Library of Congress)

DIGITAL ID (b&w film copy neg.) cwp 4a39477

NOTES Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge, Washington, D.C. Library of Congress, 1977. No. 0068.

Photograph from the main eastern theater of the war, the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862.