Truth - stranger than fiction

I stopped by the Antietam VC today just to see what was going on. John Hoptak, South Mountain author and expert, was holding down the fort. Never one to pass up a chance to pick the brain of an Antietam authority, I asked John what he thought of the Berks County Historical Society. He said he thought it was a great place with lots of wonderful holdings.

I explained that I was researching a particular soldier from the 128th PA who had taken photos of the battlefield in the 1880s. Much to my surprise, John opened a book he had on the counter and pulled out two copy photographs. Pointing to one of them he exclaimed "That's your guy." I could not believe it. It was spectacular to be looking into the face of this photographer I had been studying for a few years. It was also mind-boggling that John just happened to have his photograph at the ready.

We had a good laugh and as a thank-you I shared some of what I knew about this soldier. John also suggested where I might look to find out some more. It just goes to show ya, it never hurts to ask!