Postmorten Photograph of Turner Ashby
Original Author: Unknown
Created: 1862
Medium: Hand-colored ninth-plate ambrotype
Publisher: The Museum of the Confederacy

Postmorten Photograph of Turner Ashby

Confederate general Turner Ashby's hand-tinted pink cheeks belie the fact that this ambrotype was made after he died in 1862. Photographing loved ones after death was a common practice in the nineteenth century. Ashby became a Confederate symbol who personified the powerful notion of the defense of one's home. Driven by a desire for vengeance following the death of his brother Richard Ashby in a Union ambush in 1861, he was an important presence in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. Ashby was known as the "Knight of the Valley," a nickname that acknowledged his almost mesmerizing aura while also obscuring the brutality of the partisan war that he waged. Following the war, Ashby's body was reinterred in the Stonewall Cemetery in Winchester, where he and his brother now share a single grave. Many localities in the Shenandoah Valley still celebrate Confederate Memorial Day on June 6, the day Turner Ashby died.