Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor

The Proper Plympton

June 2022
1min read

I strongly suspect that the Colonel Plympton whose portrait appears on page 112 of your April/May issue is Peter Plympton of Missouri and not “Old Ring”—Joseph Plympton of Massachusetts.

The portrait (which is printed backwards) is that of an infantry officer of the period from 1851 to 1861. He appears to me to be about thirty years of age, which is thirty-five years younger than Joseph Plympton, a War of 1812 veteran, would have been.

Peter Plympton (U.S.M.A. 1847) was born about 1827 and was brevetted lieutenant colonel in 1862 for gallantry and meritorious service at the battle of Peratta, New Mexico. He would therefore have been addressed as “colonel” until his death in 1866.

The officer may, of course, be someone else. I am sure, however, that “Old Ring” would have shown more tarnish in the 185Os than the gentleman portrayed here.

We’ll back Peter Plympton as the subject. But the portrait is not printed backwards—it appears so because a daguerreotype is quite literally a mirror image.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.