Last week, I headed south to Lexington, Virginia, where my mother's family is from, to do some research on photographer Michael Miley. Miley worked in Lexington immediately following the Civil War and became best known as "General Lee's Photographer." After surrendering at Appomattax, Lee accepted a position as president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee, for obvious reasons) also located in Lexington. Miley took a few famous shots of the former general, including the only image of Lee in his military uniform after the war.
I ended up spending more time reading about the Civil War during my trip than I expected, as I planned to focus more on Miley's photographic innovations. But it's not an element that can be stripped out of Miley's story. I was able to visit two of my great grand-father's graves while I was there; one of their tombstones reads "Confederate soldier and lifelong democrat."