My last post was on a mystery Civil War officer image found among my late aunt's stuff. I've had a lot of help from folks pointing out that the man is an officer and that he's wearing some kind of modestly interpreted "chasseur" uniform, somewhere between a plain vanilla uniform and a fancy Zouave uniform.
First question: Who thinks these two photos are the same guy? I'm tending to think so, in which case he is Thomas Cunningham. And yes, there was a Capt. Thomas Cunningham who served three years with the 1st New Jersey Regiment in the First New Jersey Brigade, Sixth Corps. Additionally, some of the men in that regiment re-enlisted, along with others from New Jersey regiments whose time had expired, and formed the First Battalion, Veteran Volunteers, also Sixth Corps. And a Photoshop processing of the headgear in the hand of the man on the right shows what is probably a "1" within the circle made by the brass infantry bugle.
There's a complication. The photo on the left is identified as Thomas Cunningham, for sure, but it's also identified as the 38th Regiment NJ Volunteers, a short-time, end-of-war unit that was NOT attached to the Sixth Corps.
Even the uniforms look similar, with a Russian knot across the shoulders instead of the typical officer strap.
Anything else? Yes. He was Irish, according to the 1890 veterans' census, and it's possible he may have been from southern New Jersey along with my (Irish) ggf William Thorp, who was only a couple of years older. There are dozens of Thomas Cunninghams in the census and it's going to take a while to sort it out, but Thomas may simply have been a friend of the Thorp family even before the war.
Meanwhile I think I'll see if I can get service and pension records for the Thomas Cunningham, Captain, Co. B, 1st NJ, and see what they have to tell us.
It's still like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with no idea what the final product is supposed to look like. Kind of like life in general.