Portraits of Civil War Officers Taken at New Creek including General Alfred N. A. Duffie, West Virginia

Object Number: 
Autumn 1864
Graphite on beige paper
Overall: 5 5/8 x 5 1/2 in. ( 14.3 x 14 cm ) mat: 18 x 14 in. ( 45.7 x 35.6 cm )
Inscribed beneath busts in graphite: "Col Duval. 1st Inf"; "Pvt R....or[?] / (Col Snyder. 3d Cavalry?)"; "Col Mulligan"; "Col B.F. Kelly / 1st ..."; "Brig. Gen. Duffie"; old mount reputedly inscribed "Rough sketches taken at New Creek W Va in the fall of 1864. Belonged to Col. Duval [illegible]"
Alfred Napoleon Alexandre Duffié was born in Paris. Duffié received military training in the French Imperial Cavalry and fought in the Crimean War. A woman was probably the reason why he left the French army in 1859 and immigrated to the United States. In Staten Island, New York he quickly established himself in society. In August 1861 he entered the United States army as an officer in Harris Light Cavalry. He served under Gen. Irvin McDowell in Virginia in the spring of 1862 where he established a reputation as a fighting officer. In July 1862 he was appointed colonel of the newly formed 2nd New England Cavalry by Rhode Island's governor William Sprague. Duffié trained the unit well and led it first into battle at Cedar Mountain in August, a Confederate victory but the Federal cavalry gained some partial success. The following spring the regiment was part of the force at Kelly's Ford on March 17, 1863. Duffié led a successful charge in the battle, which resulted in a stalemate. He performed poorly at the battle at Brandy Station in June, lost most of his regiment shortly after, and relinquished command of his regiment. He was promoted to brigadier general and in the fall was sent to West Virginia to train new cavalry units. In fall of 1864 they were charged with actions against "Mosby's Raiders". On October 20, he was captured by Mosby's men and not paroled until February 22, 1865. Discharged in August he returned to Staten Island. In 1867 he became US citizen. Two years later he was appointed consul to Cadiz, Spain. There he died in 1880 from tuberculosis.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Daniel Parish, Jr.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group