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A Photographer’s Name Can Be Misleading

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My computer’s hard drive died suddenly last week. I got it back today and fiound that I will have to re-learn my newly configured old friend. For my first test run I went to eBay and found this currently listed picture described as a Wisconsin National Guardsman Marksman circa 1880’s. This is a really neat looking military portrait and even though the photographer is clearly from Milwaukee the soldier is not. His cap indicates that he was from Company D of the 4th Regiment but Wisconsin only had three National Guard infantry regiments back then. How do we know this soldier was in the National Guard and not the regular army? He is wearing a marksmanship medal with 4 date bars plus some marksmanship collar insignia which are awards of the New York State National Guard. The photo is not clear enough to read the inscriptions on the bars or medal other than the word “MARKSMAN” on the pin back brooch but the shape of the bars is definitely New York. While a photographer’s name on a photograph can often be very helpful in identifying a uniformed portrait there are examples where the opposite is true.