Unidentified young soldier in Union sack coat and forage cap with bayoneted musket
The American Civil War was one of the first wars in which a substantial proportion of a nation's adult male population participated. As a result, it was not unusual, on both sides of the conflict, for an individual to have a family member, friend, or neighbor serving in the military—and to want a memento of those soldiers. Photographers' tents became a common sight at army camps where soldiers could get relatively inexpensive ambrotype or tintype portraits to send back home.
Source: Liljenquist Family collection, Library of Congress