So how to go about finding them? One of the ways she suggested was to check the United States Army Heritage & Education Center. The site has thousands of images and an online database. Not everything is online, but I took a shot and put in the surname BOTKIN. Here's what I found:
Results for "botkin" in AHCO Digital Document System
View results by databases. View combined results.
1/2 sitting image of Pvt. William T. Botkin, Co. D, 69th Regt., Ind. Vol. Inf.
1/2 sitting wartime image of Pvt. John W. Botkin, Co. D, 69th Regt., Ind. Vol. Inf.
I gave a shout of disbelieve at my desk. These are my ancestors! John and William are brothers who enlisted in the 69th Indiana Volunteer Infantry along with 3 of their cousins! I've written about John and William here, here and here. I immediately began reading the site trying to determine how to order copies of the pictures.
In true government style, the site was a bit difficult to understand. Even after calling ahead to check, I still sent in the wrong amount of money the first time around and had to start the process all over again. But 4 months and $62.00 later I found the package I have been waiting for in my mail. Inside was a CD with the digital photos of John and William. Here they are:
John W. BOTKIN
William T. BOTKIN
I'll admit, seeing the photo of William made me cry. He died during the civil war in St. Louis, MO at the age of 21 of consumption. I have a son of my own near that age and I felt the sorrow his mother must have felt at losing her son so young. In fact, she herself died just 6 months later. But I'm so happy to have copies of the photos in my possession!
If you are searching for photos of your Civil War ancestors be sure and read Maureen's posting here. She gives other ideas where to look. The search may be like looking for a needle in a haystack but the results can be tremendous!