Possibly first image of Antietam battlefield

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NH Civil War Gal

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157 years ago, photographers Alexander Gardner and James Gibson first exposed their camera’s lens to the Antietam battlefield. The scene was still raw–Union soldiers and their campfires behind the Army of the Potomac’s lines.
ANB-Sept.-18.jpg

This is perhaps the first image Alexander Gardner captured of the Antietam battlefield. It shows Union troops in the center of the line on September 18.


Writing “Antietam National Battlefield” for the Images of America Series

Posted on September 18, 2019 by Kevin Pawlak
 
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CivilWarTalk

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I guess, to be clear, this is the morning after the Battle? I guess you wouldn't want to get there during the battle anyway....

Anybody know how many exposures he managed to take that day?
 
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James N.

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The National Park Service has a gallery of 30 of Gardner's photos taken at Antietam. Oddly the one in the OP isn't shown.
Now many years ago - and probably due to the poor and often inaccurate captioning in Miller's Photographic History, a "classic" I've never particularly cared much for - this view was touted as the only actual photo taken during a Civil War battle, showing skirmishers and smoke from the battle at right. (The smoke from the campfires.) Part of the problem was the as usual lousy photo reproduction of the early 1900's. Civil War Times Illustrated later published an "expose" demonstrating the inaccuracies in the description by enlarging sections of the original to show what they really were. Gardner showed up on the battlefield the day after the battle, Sept. 18, so it seems most likely he would have been the photographer?
 
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Brian Downey

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I guess, to be clear, this is the morning after the Battle? I guess you wouldn't want to get there during the battle anyway....

Anybody know how many exposures he managed to take that day?
The definitive study of the Gardner/Gibson photos is Bill Frassanito's Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America's Bloodiest Day (Scribner's, 1978). He's my source here.

Gardner and Gibson made about 95 exposures at Antietam in September and October 1862. 70 of them taken within 5 days of the battle.

Probably only 2 of them on September 18th.

Frassanito makes a good case that the photographers arrived on the field on the afternoon of 18 September and took two shots that day. The one @NH Civil War Gal posted above, and a view of the Philip Pry house (below) - from whose side yard the other picture was taken.

pry.jpg


On the 18th the Confederates still had possession of the battlefield and Gardner and Gibson did not have access. They did by the following afternoon, though, and began to take photographs in earnest ...


Good catch - it looks like a limbered 6-gun battery if I'm counting teams correctly.
Frassanito identifies those as probably belonging to General Andrew Humphrey's Division, 5th Army Corps, who arrived on the field on the 18th.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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All the trees are cleared away from the Pry House now and the white fence. The fence must have sat on the rock wall that is built into the embankment around the house and there are now no trees between the house and barn. The barn is huge and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine was doing a display/program their on the afternoon I was there on 9/14 at 3:00 pm and they said that the barn had 700 wounded in it initially. I had been doing ranger walks on the battlefields all day but really wanted to catch this one program at the Pry House because it wasn't open two-years-ago when I was there last.
 
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Banjo Pete

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The defect at the top of the photo bears an uncanny resemblance to an Atomic "Mushroom Cloud".
 
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