The last surviving soldiers of American’s War for Independence were captured on film in 1864.
When the Reverend Elias Hillard and photographer Nelson August Moore set out in 1864 to take pictures of the last surviving veterans of the Revolutionary War, they knew time was running out. In the end they succeeding in producing the only photographic record of soldiers from the War for Independence.
Their six subjects ranged in age from 100 to 105 – an amazing fact considering that the life expectancy at that time was about 40 years at the time. Their stories and picutres can be found in Hilliard’s book, The Last Men of the Revolution.
It seems incredible that these photos could exist, but all of the men all enlisted at a very young age, and lived exceptionally long lives in order to be alive during the Revolutionary War and the eve of the Civil War. Here are their images, courtesy of the Library of Congress:
An article in the website Photography Talk website tells their stories:
William Hutchings: Enlisted at age 15. Fought at the Siege of Castine, was captured by the British, but released because of his young age. Died at 101 on May 2, 1866.
Daniel Waldo: Drafted into the Continental Army at age 16. Served for a year before being captured by the British. Later served as chaplain of the House of Representatives at age 96, and died on July 30, 1864 t 101.
Adam Link: Enlisted at age 16 and served three tours with the Pennsylvania Militia. Died at 103 in 1864.
Alexander Millener: Enlisted as a drummer boy, and later saw action in several battles, including Yorktown. Died at 104, in 1874.
Lemuel Cook: The oldest surviving veteran of the Revolutionary War. He was born in 1761 and died in 1866 at almost 105 years of age.
Samuel Downing: Enlisted at the age of 15 in 1777. Fought in the Battle of Saratoga, and lived to 105 years of age. Died in 1867.