“Dennis, I saw an indistinct scan of that photo some while back when another dealer had it. Your scan is much better and gives a good look at the young man and his uniform. He is still a bit of a mystery as there is nothing truly distinctive about his uniform and equipment. I can’t tell if he wears a jacket or a coatee. My instinct is that he is a cavalryman because of the saber, but unfortunately officers carried the same style in the militia as well.
I will go out on a shaky limb and speculate that he is indeed a young cavalryman and that the straps on his shoulders are to help hold shoulder scales or epaulettes and are not small officer’s shoulder straps to designate his rank. I think the buttons to secure the ends of the absent shoulder devices can be seen at the base of the collar.
Finally, there was a sort of a tradition in the NY State Militia that had its early cavalry wearing red jackets. During the War of 1812 this practice caused some confusion since British and Canadian troops were also in red.
I don’t want to belabor this, but part of the lack of certainty comes from not having his entire uniform visible as his headgear could be conclusive, as well as the fact that officers and enlisted men alike wore the white accouterment belts. Again, the gold paint on the belt plates has obscured details which might clarify the man’s military identity.
I wish I could be more definitive and if you have additional questions please ask.”
Mike McAfee West Point Historian in reply to my email to him. This masterful resealed sixth plate daguerreotype is kept in a patriotic thermoplastic case. own the lad in all his military glory once again. He posed for James P. Weston when his studio was located at 132 Chatham St. in New York City between 1852-1856. Seeing is certainly believing, this is one of the finest military daguerreotypes I have ever offered for sale.