In Grandma and Me, there is a discussion between Cal Bivens and myself of who this soldier (labeled “Crabtree Brother” in the family of Sarah Crabtree Gill) might be. At the time we thought it might be James the son of Richard Arnold Crabtree, but have since been told that this soldier is not him.
In May of this year (2014) Cal (who has researched the family much longer than myself) sent me his updated comments on who the soldier might be:
I have narrowed down the possibilities for the unknown soldier: John Crabtree or (David Fillmore was a Crabtree / Wallace in-law).
The 8th Illinois Cavalry (David Fillmore) perhaps wore the same dress uniform as the regular army (John Crabtree). At this point I know that Fillmore was a Quartermaster Sergeant.
I am going to have to get John’s military records, however, to settle the issue. His family believed he was a corporal but the final records show him as a private—but that was a considerable time after he was killed.
The history of his regiment indicates the possibility that he could have been an acting Sergeant during the organization of the outfit. They were rushed into service undermanned and there was an episode of mischief making during a barge trip from Ohio to Tennessee which could possibly have cost him some stripes. No way to be sure yet.
The type of photo I have, an ambrotype, was made fairly early in the war and has a relatively small time frame for when it was made due to changing technology.