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NY cemetery receives rare photo of its ‘Little Drummer Boy’

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Historian Kelly Grimaldi holds a tintype of Civil War Private Bernard Ross, “Albany’s Little Drummer Boy.”

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A cemetery in upstate New York where a Civil War veteran known as “Albany’s Little Drummer Boy” is buried has received the only image of him known to exist.

Laura LaDuke, of Enfield, Connecticut, tells the Times Union, that she discovered the tintype while going through Civil War memorabilia collected by her late father.

A Google search of the name on the back — Barney Ross — led her to a 2012 Times Union article describing Kelly Grimaldi’s efforts to identify all the Civil War veterans interred at St. Agnes Cemetery, where Ross is buried.

Ross was only 12 when he enlisted in a New York regiment soon after the war started in April 1861. He served as a drummer during two enlistments. He died in 1886.

LaDuke has donated the photo to the cemetery.

The 21st century fans of a young 19th century Civil War veteran will finally get to see what he looks like.

The cemetery’s historian, Kelly Grimaldi, was laid up at home after foot surgery, feeling miserable, when she saw an email late on a recent Friday night from Laura LaDuke, saying she thought she had an image of Ross.

“You made my day,” Grimaldi wrote back to LaDuke.

The picture of Ross — actually a tintype, taken on a thin tin plate — was one of two Civil War images taken in Albany that LaDuke found in her Enfield, Conn., home on March 3. LaDuke had no interest in keeping the images, which wouldn’t be worth much monetarily. She just wanted to get them to people who would care about them.

The other photo was a picture printed from a negative that had been easy to trace.

The man’s last name was unusual (Scifres), and his address and battalion were there. She easily found his story online, along with his descendants in Indiana.

The small tintype sparked her curiosity for several reasons.

It was clearly Civil War era, but of a slight young man, in his teens, who was not wearing a uniform but an oversized jacket.

His cheeks were painted pink.

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