|Carte de Visite
J. V. Cobb - Photographer & Chemist
Hythe and Sandgate, England
This interesting carte de visite reproduces an 1860s vintage pen and watercolour sketch of the first day of practice of a rather
motley group of volunteer soldiers. My assumption that this rather hopeless looking group were volunteers - possibly
members of an unknown Rifle Volunteer Association - is based solely on another assumption that had these men would have
been more uniformly uniformed by the their first day of arms handling hand they been regulars.
Each man was depicted in such a unique manner that it is possible that they represent am actual member of the group as
oppsed to simply being the figments of someone's imagination. The man at the far right looks to be the uniform of an naval
officer of perhaps that of an officer of the merchant fleet. The man third from left is entirely outfitted in civilian garb. Three of
the men look to be wearing uniforms similar to the gray ones issued to members of the volunteer rifle associations at the time.
The man at the far right who I have nick-named "Gomer Pyle" is shown dropping his rifle. In the end he probably turned out
to be the best soldier in the group.
The Armyestablised a school of musketry at Hythe in 1853 and these men were no doubt taking part in their first practice
there when this drawing was inspired. Unfortunately the artist's name is lost to history.
The image's caption reads: "First Practice - The practice is to accustom the soldier to handle his rifle."