Rosenstock photo "debunked"?

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#1
PHUFAODI3MI6RIZVYRID2BA6V4.jpg

A recent story in the Washington Post claims that 2 Civil War buffs have "debunked" the claim
that the famous Rosenstock photo of a Confederate army on the move in Frederick, MD was taken in 1862 during the Antietam campaign. They say it was actually taken in 1864 prior to the Battle of Monocacy and the location of the photo is also incorrect.

They offer some compelling evidence, but also some reasoning that I don't fully agree with. For example, they say that since none of the rifles appear to have bayonets, it must be a late war photo because soldiers had thrown them away by then. However, they wouldn't be marching with fixed bayonets, and they could very well be in bayonet scabbards on their belts on the left side, and therefore not visible. It's not also a foregone conclusion that most Confederate soldiers discarded their bayonets as useless by 1864.

Regardless, it's an interesting examination and interpretation of the photo.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...8eb28bc52b1_story.html?utm_term=.907efbe23eba
 
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#3
To me, it wasn't as important as to where and when it was done; but the fact that it is still reportedly the only picture ever taken of Confederate soldiers on the march.
Is there one of a Union army on the move? I thought this was the only photo of a Civil War army on the march. I've seen lots of Union army photos, but they're all still.
 

Brendan

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#4
A recent story in the Washington Post claims that 2 Civil War buffs have "debunked" the claim that the famous Rosenstock photo of a Confederate army on the move in Frederick, MD was taken in 1862 during the Antietam campaign. They say it was actually taken in 1864 prior to the Battle of Monocacy and the location of the photo is also incorrect.

They offer some compelling evidence, but also some reasoning that I don't fully agree with. For example, they say that since none of the rifles appear to have bayonets, it must be a late war photo because soldiers had thrown them away by then. However, they wouldn't be marching with fixed bayonets, and they could very well be in bayonet scabbards on their belts on the left side, and therefore not visible. It's not also a foregone conclusion that most Confederate soldiers discarded their bayonets as useless by 1864.

Regardless, it's an interesting examination and interpretation of the photo.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...8eb28bc52b1_story.html?utm_term=.907efbe23eba

View attachment 191007
I was baffled by the bayonet "analysis" as well for the same reasons.
 
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#5
Soldiers would not throw away their bayonets, part of their equipment, always carried and used for many different tasks, and in battle. I believe they would have been fined or otherwise in some trouble. I don't believe they are Federals, a lot of slouch hats and some other types of caps are present. I don't think either one solved much. I believe the mystery of the photo still exists.
 

WJC

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Thanks for posting the photo and link.
I don't know who convinced the 'analyst' that armies of the period always marched with bayonets fixed, or that any soldier had thrown his bayonet away at any time during the war. There is a wealth of information about the various uses made for bayonets besides as a weapon: it had great utility. Hard to believe any soldier would throw his away.
 

SWMODave

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#8
I would agree with the comments above. The bayonet was not a part of equipment issued that soldiers would freely toss to the wayside - nor would they wish to. Alongside the ramrod, it found itself used as multiple purpose gear for both fighting - and cooking. One who likes to read first hand accounts of the war would immediately become skeptical of this claim. As to the not marching with bayonets - this isn't a dress parade - this isn't a unit in battle formation - this isn't a company in drill. Maybe they should read about the Jackson march into Maryland from the soldiers that were there and the civilians that witnessed it, and were kind enough to write down what they saw.

As to the location of the plaque, they are correct, but not sure why they spent so much time trying to figure that part out - as it apparently has been known since at least 1998 - Article on photographer, his location, and the famous picture

And from the Papers Read Before the Lancaster County Historical Society Vol 22-23, here is a hand drawn map showing the route Jackson's men took thru Frederick in 1862. -
frederick1862 Papers Read Before the Lancaster County Historical Society Volumes 22 23.jpg


The article is about the controversial claim that Barbara Fritchie waved a US flag defiantly at the Confederate troops in 1862 - just out of camera shot maybe? Became quite a famous little lady - although she died later that year.

So far they have made a very cool before and after photograph - one of those sliding kind - but other than that - they have discovered an apparent town secret (misplaced historical plaque) and have made a seriously flawed theory over the time table - imo.
Before/after picture and how it was taken
 
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chubachus

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#9
Is there one of a Union army on the move? I thought this was the only photo of a Civil War army on the march. I've seen lots of Union army photos, but they're all still.
This is one of the best ones, a sequence of photos of probably a Union cavalry unit crossing a pontoon bridge but they are blurred by movement unfortunately: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/my...bridge-over-the-james-river-animation.110458/

There are a few other ones of Union soldiers posing while on the march.
 
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#10
I agree, this analysis is rather flawed hinging on bayonets. Bayonets had many uses besides cooking and stabbing, they were integral to "stacking arms", and came in handy when in a battle and needing to dig some cover in hurry, (maybe not super effective, but comforting), and I believe they were probably used in battle more than people say. The statistics say less than one percent of battle deaths were from a bayonet, but think for a second, the people recording what the dead died of, were also the ones burying them, days after they had died, (and years later sometimes) usually in the summer, where body's got pretty rank pretty quickly. I suspect some of these gravedigging recorders slacked off and rather than record what the actual cause of death was, just wrote down the quickest believable cause, "gunshot" to avoid thoroughly examining a very rank corpse.

Heck as a possible artifact of their unpleasant task, several relic hunter friends of mine have found bayonets that have had their ends bent significantly, and they believe this was done to make a "hook" to grab the body's and drag them into the grave to avoid touching them. Its an interesting theory, that may hold some water.

Just my thoughts...
 
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#11
I agree, this analysis is rather flawed hinging on bayonets. Bayonets had many uses besides cooking and stabbing, they were integral to "stacking arms", and came in handy when in a battle and needing to dig some cover in hurry, (maybe not super effective, but comforting), and I believe they were probably used in battle more than people say. The statistics say less than one percent of battle deaths were from a bayonet, but think for a second, the people recording what the dead died of, were also the ones burying them, days after they had died, (and years later sometimes) usually in the summer, where body's got pretty rank pretty quickly. I suspect some of these gravedigging recorders slacked off and rather than record what the actual cause of death was, just wrote down the quickest believable cause, "gunshot" to avoid thoroughly examining a very rank corpse.

Heck as a possible artifact of their unpleasant task, several relic hunter friends of mine have found bayonets that have had their ends bent significantly, and they believe this was done to make a "hook" to grab the body's and drag them into the grave to avoid touching them. Its an interesting theory, that may hold some water.

Just my thoughts...
That's an excellent point about bayonets being needed to stack arms, something which soldiers on both sides had to do on a daily basis. You'd think that the two guys who did this research would know that, as they have a picture of them in their reenactor uniforms. While you can use ramrods to sort of stack arms if don't have bayonets, it's not stable and would be the exception, not the rule. And as everyone is noting, there were numerous other uses for the bayonet as a camp tool. And didn't the Confederates surrendering at Appomattox have to stack their arms? How did they do that in 1865 if most of them had thrown away their bayonets by 1864, the year this picture was supposedly taken?
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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#12
To me, it wasn't as important as to where and when it was done; but the fact that it is still reportedly the only picture ever taken of Confederate soldiers on the march.
Now that you're saying this, did Matthew Brady or others of his ilk, ever take many photographs of the Confederates in the field?
 

captaindrew

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#13
Now that you're saying this, did Matthew Brady or others of his ilk, ever take many photographs of the Confederates in the field?
Prisoners and casualties, there are a few threads on here about photos of Confederate prisoners. Other than the above photo that's about as close as you can get.
 
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#14
View attachment 191007
A recent story in the Washington Post claims that 2 Civil War buffs have "debunked" the claim
that the famous Rosenstock photo of a Confederate army on the move in Frederick, MD was taken in 1862 during the Antietam campaign. They say it was actually taken in 1864 prior to the Battle of Monocacy and the location of the photo is also incorrect.

They offer some compelling evidence, but also some reasoning that I don't fully agree with. For example, they say that since none of the rifles appear to have bayonets, it must be a late war photo because soldiers had thrown them away by then. However, they wouldn't be marching with fixed bayonets, and they could very well be in bayonet scabbards on their belts on the left side, and therefore not visible. It's not also a foregone conclusion that most Confederate soldiers discarded their bayonets as useless by 1864.

Regardless, it's an interesting examination and interpretation of the photo.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...8eb28bc52b1_story.html?utm_term=.907efbe23eba
I lived in Frederick Maryland for 45 years. It was always my understanding that these troops were part of the Confederate Army marching north on Market street just past the crossroad junction with East and West Patrick street in 1862. If so they were possibly part of Jacksons command. From what I've read his boys camped to the North of town. Could be wrong, but that's what I have always believed.
 
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#15
All said above about the bayonet is true, and I personally used the bayonet for many other purposes as a reenactor. The usages of it far outweigh any reason why one would even consider throwing it away, so that't just nonsense. I can't really see the condition of their uniforms, but generally speaking, the Antietam campaign was when the ANV was in its most ragged shape. By 64 they were much better clothed and equipped- but I don't know if that included forage caps or if they kept their felt hats. Then again, this is just a fragment of the entire army, so I don't know if this can dictate for the entire army. Just remember, some so called "historians" will do anything to get public attention. It's how they make money. If you want to see the worst of it, watch the History channel sometime, you'll no what I mean.
 

captaindrew

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#16
Now that you're saying this, did Matthew Brady or others of his ilk, ever take many photographs of the Confederates in the field?
Oh, and the photo of Confederates across the river at Fredericksburg by the destroyed bridge, Somebody posted it on here blown up to see the details, it's an excellent photo, have to see if I can find it.
 
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#17
I lived in Frederick Maryland for 45 years. It was always my understanding that these troops were part of the Confederate Army marching north on Market street just past the crossroad junction with East and West Patrick street in 1862. If so they were possibly part of Jacksons command. From what I've read his boys camped to the North of town. Could be wrong, but that's what I have always believed.
And also, if it would have been part of Jubal Earlys command in 1864 I don't understand why they would have been marching North on Market street. If they were going to the famous Jug bridge during the Monocacy fight then they would have been marching East on East Patrick.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Oh, and the photo of Confederates across the river at Fredericksburg by the destroyed bridge, Somebody posted it on here blown up to see the details, it's an excellent photo, have to see if I can find it.
I've seen that photo and it's great. I just started to wonder if a photographer ever followed the CSA troops.
 

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