In 1864, in the midst of America's greatest crisis since its founding, the Reverend Elias Brewster Hilliard, collaborating with photographers, published a book called The Last Men of the Revolution. The book included biographical sketches and interviews with half a dozen surviving Revolutionary War veterans - most of whom were over 100 years old at the time - accompanied by new photos. In his preface, Hilliard noted that "our own are the last eyes that will look on men who looked on Washington" and considered photographing them a duty that, if neglected, "would be forever regretted." But for such images, our only visual record of the Revolution would be from paintings.
The copiously-photographed Civil War then raging across the country provided ample subtext for this little volume. In one of the interviews, veteran Alexander Milliner is quoted as saying that it is "too bad that this country, so hardly got, should be destroyed by its own people."
Most of the Revolutionary War portraits shown below were included in The Last Men of the Revolution, except two (John Gray and Daniel Bakeman).