This past week I requested that the famous image of Andrew and Silas Chandler grace the cover of my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2019. This should come as no surprise. Silas and Andrew have long been the face of this mythical narrative. The image has been misinterpreted by a cross section of the historical community, from National Park Service staff to Confederate heritage groups.
What I didn’t expect was to wake up today to a tweet from historian Brooks Simpson, who came across the image at the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington, D.C.
— Brooks D. Simpson (@BrooksDSimpson) September 29, 2018
The original tintype is located just up the street at the Library of Congress. I have no idea how one of the most famous images of master and slave headed off to war – likely in 1861 – ended up in an exhibit about black Union soldiers.
Let’s hope they fix this.