WALTER Q. GRESHAM: CIVIL WAR HERO AND HOLDER OF TWO US GOVERNMENT CABINET POSITIONS (PHOTOGRAPH BY CELEBRATED PHOTOGRAPHER C. M. BELL)

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Walter Q. Gresham (1832-1895) was quite an accomplished man in both his military and his political careers. He was an American statesman and jurist. He held offices that included US Postmaster General, Judge on the US Court of Appeals, Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Treasury. He was a two time candidate for the Republican nomination for President (1884 and 1888). He also served as a Union officer in the American Civil War. He entered the army as a Lieutenant Colonel of the the 38th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to full Colonel and led the 53rd Indiana Infantry and took part in the fight for Vicksburg as well as other battles. In 1863 he was appointed Brigadier General and commanded Federal forces in Natchez, Mississippi. In 1864 he became a division commander under General Sherman during the Atlanta campaign. He was forced to leave the army after being shot in his knee; an injury that left him lame for the remainder of his life. He was married to Matilda McGrain in 1858. Gresham is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The photographer of this historic cabinet card is C. M. Bell. Charles Milton Bell (1848-1893) was also an accomplished man. He was the youngest member of a family of photographers that operated a studio in Washington DC from around 1860 until 1874. He established his own studio on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1873. He quickly became one of the most successful photographers in the city. He was noted for his portraits of Native Americans as well as political figures and celebrities. His subjects included President Chester Arthur, Chief Yellow Bull, and Helen Keller. His photographs can be found in many prestigious institutions including The Library of Congress, Harvard University, Dartmouth University, and the Smithsonian. Bell is also known for his photographs of President Garfield’s assassin, Charles J. Guiteau. He was the only photographer authorized by Guiteau and the Government to take photographs of Guiteau and other people playing roles in his trial. Bell also took medical photographs relating to the assassination and assassin.

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