Civil War Veterans Come Alive in Audio and Video Recordings
It is only a scrap of 86-year-old silent newsreel footage: an elderly black man named William Smallwood stands in threadbare clothes against a brick wall in Boston, performing the manual of arms with a wooden crutch. “Still ready if he’s needed,” declares a title card, presumably reflecting the old man’s sentiments. The clip is just one minute long. Smallwood provides no details of his life. Yet this bit of film is one of the rarest in existence. Not only does it capture one of the...