Portait: ScottTintype, c. 1861
Photographer unknown

William Scott (1839/40-1862) from Groton was one of Vermont's most notorious Civil War soldiers. Known today as "The Sleeping Sentinel," he was court-martialed, found guilty, and sentenced to be shot for falling asleep on guard duty. On September 9, 1861, the day of his execution, the regiments of the Vermont Brigade were drawn up to watch, the prisoner brought forward and the sentence read, followed by a pardon from President Lincoln. Scott was free! Scott's story was covered by national newspapers and over time the details were somewhat embellished. The story was so popular that it was even published in a raised-letter version for the blind. Though Lincoln did pardon Scott at the request of his regiment, the president didn't deliver the pardon in person as illustrated in the newspaper.

Scott returned to service after his release but just eight months later, on April 16, 1862, he was killed at Warwick Creek in Virginia.

Thousands of soldiers, like William Scott, could afford to have their likenesses taken and then sent as keepsakes to their families. Hundreds of photographers brought their portable studios into the field. The ever-expanding photographic technology provided not only for tintypes and ambrotypes, but also for cart-de-visits, the very popular pocket-sized photographs on paper.