Over the years, many books, articles, and websites — including, until now, this one — have described the following image as a photograph of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin during the American Civil War:
A blog reader, whose hobby is reenacting Prussian artillery of the Napoleonic period, and who wishes to remain anonymous, very kindly took the time to let me know that the figure usually identified as Count Zeppelin (second from right) is actually a Union Army officer.
The photograph can be found in the collection of the Library of Congress (LC-B811-435A [P&P] LOT 4174). According to the caption it was taken during the Peninsula Campaign of May-August, 1862 (before Zeppelin arrived in America in 1863) and depicts officers of the Horse Artillery commanded by Lt. Col. William Hays: Lt. Robert Clarke, Capt. John C. Tidball, Lt. William N. Dennison, and Capt. Alexander C.M. Pennington.
The same reader also pointed me to a photograph that does depict Count von Zeppelin during the Civil War. I will post it tomorrow. Keep an eye on the blog. 🙂
My deep appreciation to the reader who provided this information. Corrections and comments are always welcome! Please feel free to contact me.