A tintype portrait of an unidentified high ranking Confederate officer; half plate housed in a half case.
This is indeed a colonel dating to sometime after February 1861 when the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) was initially organized with rank and insignia (three stars without wreath), indicating colonel proscribed in regulations first published in Southern newspapers on May 25, 1861, revised and codified in the June 6, 1861 dress regulations. The double-breasted frock coat and tall forage cap appear to be a shade of grey with a darker colored collar and cap band, all consistent with the June 1861 regulations, although this colonel lacks the gold sleeve loops called chicken guts. The belt plate appears to be a round two-piece state shield, possibly Virginia, while the sword is a typical M1821 straight-bladed militia pattern often seen in early Southern photography.
As a tintype, the plate is most likely reversed. The proper reading of the Old English script letters embroidered on the band of the forage cap is translated as I-P-A, or L-P-A. Although this is a key to identifying the unit and possibly the colonel, unfortunately, the initials "IPA" are at present unknown. As each company entered Confederate service under its own local name, there are several possibilities (see Tancig's Confederate Military Land Units, 1967). "IPA" does not stand for any of the specialty departments in the Confederate Army, such as engineers, commissary, judge advocate general, etc. At this point, we have been unable to identify this officer, but we can say with some certainty that he did not become a general later in the war because there is no obvious likeness in Warner's Generals in Gray.
Condition: Original cover glass was broken, so it has been removed; few spots on plate; otherwise very good portrait.