Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Nurse Grace Babcock's close up doesn't do justice to her determination to have a portrait taken Above The Clouds in Tennessee. Photographer Thomas Merritt of Nashville deserves some credit, too.
As if nursing wounded in the middle of a war wasn't hazardous enough, Mrs. Grace Babcock climbed far above her hospital duties, perhaps an image sent to a husband elsewhere in the war. LoC.
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee was a landmark before two Major Generals threw their armies into the sky, battling it out " Above The Clouds ". Hooker and Stevens made it massive, timeless memorial. Numbers seem to vary, 408 Union men died there, captured or missing were over a thousand Confederates with around half the casualties Hooker's army suffered. So it could be thought negligible- if one death isn't too many- compared to losses at Antietam, Cold Harbor and Gettysburg. It wasn't. Lookout Mountain's loss by the Confederate army has been described as one of the turning points of the war- although please no one think I know enough to argue the point. Great synopsis here.
Captain John Wilson's 8th Kentucky Infantry re-play their climb to plant their flag- since the battle was November, 1863 and this Linn photo dates from 1863, it must have been only a month or so later.
" The Battle Above The Clouds " was quite literal, troops were both impeded and helped by fog. It captured a nation's attention and imagination, an unlikely battlefield became a tourist spot by the time the fog lifted. Helped hugely by business from the Federal camps, an intrepid photographer perched his studio on a cliff and opened shop. Ohio brothers Robert and J.B. Linn made a huge success- soldiers, civilians, officers, their wives and sweethearts ( and their kids! ) stood, sat, leaned and clung to those rocks, commemorating the day they felt intrepid with a photograph to prove it. War era photos proliferate and you just know for each one we see, around 20 more are in private collections or still waiting to be discovered in that trunk in an attic.
There's a small boy in this group, military families made the trek but bet there's a mother in there not happy to have her son enjoying the view. Have a shot of an entire group, just children.
The Linn brother's " Gallery Point Lookout " really was perched on a cliff. There's another thread ( mine, I'm not swiping anyone's promise! ), where Linn's studio comes up. Photographs from Lookout have always fascinated me, can't be the only one. A Linn peer, a man named Roper fell to his death from Roper's Rock- not named for the photographer's fatal fall but ( and this is really bizarre ) yet another man named Roper who also died there- a Pennsylvania soldier. No one knows if Roper worked for Robert and J.B., may not have. The Linns were the first but you'll see images bearing the address of photographers from as far away as Norristown, PA.
Linn's studio, can't remember where I found this- if it was Pinterest, which I trusted for 20 minutes years ago with accuracy, may not be the genuine thing but think it is? Found it a few years ago and the ID is missing in my files. It's the shop's foundation resting on a cliff edge that gets you.
No idea what the structure may be- half of a double spread, cropped. Makes your toes curl.
The Linn gallery operated until 1886, J.B. running it alone after his brother's death in 1872. Among a plethora of images given us by Linn and others, war era photos are the most fascinating. Troops stationed anywhere nearby- and that's the Tennessee River down there, military camps, HQ's and depots scattered over miles, made the trek.
Another hand's down favorite- Miss Edwards seems unhappy. I'm with her. No problems with snakes, spiders, rodents ( except for rats ) or dark nights. Hate the bejammers out of extreme heights.
Tons more, choosing this one as terribly significant. It seems a little post war, not much. She's a widow, I think and it doesn't take a leap of faith to feel perhaps she's visiting the place a battle took her husband from her. Where it all began, November 24th, 1863. The Battle Above The Clouds.