George Washington Cullum (1809–92) was a Union general in the American Civil War. Born in New York City, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1833 and served in the Army Corps of Engineers developing fortifications along the New England coast and in the Mexican War (1846–48). Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and aide-de-camp to Commanding General of the Army Winfield Scott. In 1861 he became a member of the U.S. Sanitation Commission and was promoted to brigadier general. He served as chief of staff and chief engineer to Henry Wager Halleck, commander of the Department of Missouri. He supported the siege of Corinth, an offensive in Mississippi which resulted in the capture of a strategic Confederate railroad station. Cullum was appointed as superintendent of the United States Military Academy in 1864, where he remained for two years. He married Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck in 1875, the widow of General Halleck. Cullum is known for publishing the Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy. The image is from an album of mostly Civil War-era portraits by the famous American photographer Matthew Brady (circa 1823‒96) that belonged to Emperor Pedro II of Brazil (1825‒91), a collector of photography as well as a photographer himself. The album was a gift to the emperor from Edward Anthony (1818‒88), another early American photographer who, in partnership with his brother, owned a company that in the 1850s became the leading seller of photographic supplies in the United States. Dom Pedro may have acquired the album during a trip to the United States in 1876 when he, along with President Ulysses S. Grant, opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Brady was born in upstate New York, the son of immigrants from Ireland. Best known for his photographs documenting the battles of the American Civil War, he began his career in 1844 when he opened a daguerreotype portrait studio at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets in New York City. Over the course of the next several decades, Brady produced portraits of leading American public figures, many of which were published as engravings in magazines and newspapers. In 1858 he opened a branch in Washington, DC. The album, which also contains a small number of non-photographic prints, is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.
Contributor: Anthony, Edward, 1818-1888
References: William B. Skelton, “Cullum, George Washington,” in American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
Place: North America; United States of America; Tennessee
Institution: National Library of Brazil
Physical description: 1 photographic print : carte-de-visite, albumen paper ; 8.5 x 5.4 centimeters