Anonymous American Photographer, ‘Edmund Russell, Lieutenant, 4th U. S. Infantry’, circa 1850, Sotheby's

Important Daguerreotypes from the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Collection


From the Catalogue:
Edmund Russell was admitted to the military as a cadet on 4 July 1842 at the age of 20 and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1846. In 1853, an official statement from Fort Reading, California, reports that Lieutenant Russell, a guide named Henry Latman (‘an old mountain man’), a young Native American boy acting as an interpreter, and 23 soldiers were en route to attack an Indian settlement that was said to be inhabited by several hundred Native American warriors.

While traveling to the settlement, Russell, the guide, the interpreter, and two soldiers left the larger group to explore an alternative route to the encampment near Tehema, California, just south of present-day Redding. They came upon two Native American men digging roots and took them as prisoners. The prisoners were able to recover their weapons a short distance later, killing Lieutenant Russel, and then made their escape. The guide and interpreter survived the ordeal.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

Stanley B. Burns, Mirror Mirror: The Burns Collection Daguerreotypes (New York: The Burns Archive Press, 2012), pl. 77