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Lieut. G. B. Smith
Portrait of Robert C. Crouch, made on oyster can while in Johnson't Island Prison
Tintype, magazine illustration
January 1909, "Picture made on Johnson's Island", Confederate Veteran magazine, vol. 17, no. 1, pp.8-29.
PICTURE MADE ON JOHNSONíS ISLAND.
Comrade Robert C. Crouch, living in a retired way on his farm in the beautiful valley of East Tennessee, near Morristown, cherishes the memory of a lovely daughter who was called to heaven, leaving her parents to cherish her memory and do good to others. Next to that idol of affection, he bears in fine memory the things that were and are of the Confederacy. Of a multitude of relics which Comrade Crouch possesses is a tintype of high merit and well preserved. The story of the pictures deserves to be recorded.
Lieut. G. B. Smith, of Bristol, Tenn., had his lens with him when captured and taken a prisoner to Johnsonís Island, Ohio. By bribing a guard he procured some chemicals, placed his lens in a tobacco box, and with this crude outfit opened a ďgalleryĒ clandestinely in the garret of Block 3 of that prison.
The material used as plates for his tintype pictures was cut from old oyster cans, and the only light procurable was from one 8x10 glass in the attic, except that which came through the cracks in the walls. The original of this picture was taken at Johnsonís Island in 1864, and is in good condition, having faded but little. Few artists would take a better picture now.
I'm indebted to E. Lee Elzroth for bringing this to my attention (Facebook, Tintype Photography, 25 May 2018)