Shown here are ghost like images from a group of hitherto unpublished tintypes found several years ago in a Virginia country auction. While the identity of the artist / photographer has been lost to time, a period scratch engraved inscription on the back of one plate documents the occasion as the 31st Maine Volunteer Infantry just arriving in Washington on April 21, 1864. Organized at Augusta, Maine to serve three years, the 31st Regiment had left the state for Washington D. C. just four days earlier. The soon to be hard fought Mainers were at once moved to the front where on May 5th- 7th the raw recruits participated in the battle of the Wilderness where the Regiment lost heavily in killed and wounded. The 31st would see nearly continuous hard service through the remainder of the Civil War. The men seen in these photographs would fight and many would die or be maimed for life at such places as Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, Poplar Spring Church and Hatcher’s Run. They would fall at Bethesda Church and at the Petersburg Mine Explosion where the 31st Maine was among the first into the fray. 1,595 strong upon arrival, the 31st Regiment would lose nearly 400 of their number in KIA or died of wounds or disease before mustering out on July 15, 1865. There is no record of the number who returned to Maine with disabling injury.