Stories We May Be Missing, Gettysburg Wounded Summer 1863

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,136
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#1
wounded conf and union.jpg

This has always been one of the more frustrating images of the relative handful we have from Gettysburg's awful summer, 1863. Blurred and indistinct , it's been way too easy to dismiss in favor of amazing clarity in other photographs. These men deserve another look IMO.

No expert but the longer I involve myself with era images the more convinced it makes me that quite a few tell stories. Something is in that photograph we're meant to see and understand- the photographer was making a point or immortalizing an event, person or entire story. There's a reason for some grouping that's been lost. Please excuse this not being posted in the Gettysburg forum, feel free to move? It's here in photo examinations because it's yet another era image reflecting that aspect of era images. What is the story here?

Nearly centered, this little group is awfully interesting.
wounded officer in front.jpg

Why is there an officer placed sideways a little in front of wounded? No idea, hoping there are guesses.

This one, identified as Letterman ( but looks more like 2nd Corp Hospital ) seems to record wounded men, perhaps just put together as a kind of group photo of the battle's survivors. It is but it seems like the point of it may there are Union and Confederate wounded in this image, two key figures, amputees ( one with an eye patch ) flanked by a Union officer maybe the center pieces. Yes, there were indeed Confederate hospitals but nurses describe wounded men laying in cots next to each other too. I realize the image washes out some of the uniform ID's by way of color and men frequently had shredded clothing replaced. Still. A little convinced there's more to this image than ' just ' wounded men who survived Gettysburg. Opinions please?

wounded cavalry boots.jpg

It's extremely washed out although dark/light seems clear. Is the 2nd man from left wearing a frock coat? If so, it's not blue.
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

alan polk

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
2,432
#2
I suppose we will never know for sure, but the guy there in the first and second pics on two crutches certainly looks like a Confederate officer. Perhaps the Union officer next to him was a friend of some sort and wanted to be posed with him for a picture? Maybe the Rebel officer was well known to Yankees? Lost to history. Thanks for posting!
 

Robert Gray

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Messages
1,431
#3
View attachment 309870
This has always been one of the more frustrating images of the relative handful we have from Gettysburg's awful summer, 1863. Blurred and indistinct , it's been way too easy to dismiss in favor of amazing clarity in other photographs. These men deserve another look IMO.

No expert but the longer I involve myself with era images the more convinced it makes me that quite a few tell stories. Something is in that photograph we're meant to see and understand- the photographer was making a point or immortalizing an event, person or entire story. There's a reason for some grouping that's been lost. Please excuse this not being posted in the Gettysburg forum, feel free to move? It's here in photo examinations because it's yet another era image reflecting that aspect of era images. What is the story here?

Nearly centered, this little group is awfully interesting.
View attachment 309871
Why is there an officer placed sideways a little in front of wounded? No idea, hoping there are guesses.

This one, identified as Letterman ( but looks more like 2nd Corp Hospital ) seems to record wounded men, perhaps just put together as a kind of group photo of the battle's survivors. It is but it seems like the point of it may there are Union and Confederate wounded in this image, two key figures, amputees ( one with an eye patch ) flanked by a Union officer maybe the center pieces. Yes, there were indeed Confederate hospitals but nurses describe wounded men laying in cots next to each other too. I realize the image washes out some of the uniform ID's by way of color and men frequently had shredded clothing replaced. Still. A little convinced there's more to this image than ' just ' wounded men who survived Gettysburg. Opinions please?

View attachment 309872
It's extremely washed out although dark/light seems clear. Is the 2nd man from left wearing a frock coat? If so, it's not blue.
Here's the best quality image I could come up with.
Gettysburg-Camp-Letterman-Hospital-Captured-Confederate-Convalescent.jpg
 

Robert Gray

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Messages
1,431
#5
View attachment 309870
This has always been one of the more frustrating images of the relative handful we have from Gettysburg's awful summer, 1863. Blurred and indistinct , it's been way too easy to dismiss in favor of amazing clarity in other photographs. These men deserve another look IMO.

No expert but the longer I involve myself with era images the more convinced it makes me that quite a few tell stories. Something is in that photograph we're meant to see and understand- the photographer was making a point or immortalizing an event, person or entire story. There's a reason for some grouping that's been lost. Please excuse this not being posted in the Gettysburg forum, feel free to move? It's here in photo examinations because it's yet another era image reflecting that aspect of era images. What is the story here?

Nearly centered, this little group is awfully interesting.
View attachment 309871
Why is there an officer placed sideways a little in front of wounded? No idea, hoping there are guesses.

This one, identified as Letterman ( but looks more like 2nd Corp Hospital ) seems to record wounded men, perhaps just put together as a kind of group photo of the battle's survivors. It is but it seems like the point of it may there are Union and Confederate wounded in this image, two key figures, amputees ( one with an eye patch ) flanked by a Union officer maybe the center pieces. Yes, there were indeed Confederate hospitals but nurses describe wounded men laying in cots next to each other too. I realize the image washes out some of the uniform ID's by way of color and men frequently had shredded clothing replaced. Still. A little convinced there's more to this image than ' just ' wounded men who survived Gettysburg. Opinions please?

View attachment 309872
It's extremely washed out although dark/light seems clear. Is the 2nd man from left wearing a frock coat? If so, it's not blue.
Gettysburg-Camp-Letterman-Hospital-Captured-Confederate-Convalescent-_57.jpg
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,136
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#6
I suppose we will never know for sure, but the guy there in the first and second pics on two crutches certainly looks like a Confederate officer. Perhaps the Union officer next to him was a friend of some sort and wanted to be posed with him for a picture? Maybe the Rebel officer was well known to Yankees? Lost to history. Thanks for posting!

Worst ( and I mean worst ) uniform identifier ever to walk into this forum so thanks very much! This is so funny. Because I thought so too it seemed clear it couldn't be. :angel: I'm never right about uniforms and was hoping someone would pick up on who was wearing what. Now cute shoes R Us. Do we ever see those boots on Union men? It's a real question because the only images where I've noticed them are of Confederate men- may have just not noticed them elsewhere? And that's a very good take on the ' why's ' here- like I said, there's frequently intent behind these, a subject or topic- they're not just more sunsets or nice trees, you know? Could be a well known figure in here?

@Robert Gray , thank you! Interesting and happy to be wrong. So Letterman! I said it looked like 2nd Corp because images from there tend to have trees as a backdrop and those Tyson images have the camera pointed at rows of tents, the town down below. Someone set up their camera pointed the other way for this. THAT will drive me crazy because no photographer ever set up alllll that stuff just for one image. Where are the rest?

Yes, that's a ton clearer, thanks @lelliott19 . The other thing that drives me crazy is not knowing who anyone may be. Wouldn't you think someone, in all the wonderful letters, diaries and post war books would have written " Today a photographer came to the camp/hospital/ship.... ". You identified the poor man ( was he Georgian? ) whose body was used for a posed picture. ( maybe bump that thread, it's awfully good ), love to see more of these photos with names attached.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
8,359
#7
The LOC caption: Group of soldiers, some in uniform and some with crutches, pose in front of the woods at the hospital at Camp Letterman in Gettysburg

The photo and several paragraphs of text:
Dr. Henry Janes of Waterbury was dispatched to Gettysburg just after the battle there to set up hospitals, including one to care for 4,000 of the most seriously wounded. Now the site is threatened with development....
...Janes insisted that Confederate and Union soldiers be given equal treatment; those who died were buried in a nearby cemetery side-by-side, he said. Camp Letterman operated just briefly, from the wake of the battle in early July to Nov. 20, 1863, one day after President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address....
https://vtdigger.org/2018/05/14/vermont-looks-to-preserve-gettysburg-war-site-from-development/

More about Dr. Henry Janes:
http://www.montpelierbridge.com/2014/06/dr-henry-janes-waterbury-icon/
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,136
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#8
Now the site is threatened with development....

Isn't it under asphalt now? How crazy if it is. There's a story out there about a haunted Walmart somewhere, not Gettysburg. It makes you hope there'll be yet more commercial establishments where ghosts set up camp. If I'd been a soldier who died there, I'd sure object. Plus how fun would that be? If you have to die ( and so far we all do ), good to get something out of it.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
8,359
#9
Isn't it under asphalt now? How crazy if it is. There's a story out there about a haunted Walmart somewhere, not Gettysburg. It makes you hope there'll be yet more commercial establishments where ghosts set up camp. If I'd been a soldier who died there, I'd sure object. Plus how fun would that be? If you have to die ( and so far we all do ), good to get something out of it.
Good question that I have no answer for. I searched around for a while but didn't find anything. Sorry.
 

christian soldier

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Month
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
2,613
#12
Annie. Are you aware that Greg Coco wrote several books on the wounded of the Gettysburg Battle as well as a book on the Camp Letterman Hospital in Gettysburg. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago and I am not sure if his books are still available for purchase. However, since you live in Central Pennsylvania I can refer a bookstore to you where you can get some of his books. David.
 

AUG

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
7,344
Location
Texas
#13
According to Time-Life's Echoes of Glory: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy, p. 125, this is another photo of Confederate wounded at Gettysburg. 1st Lt. Sanford Walker Branch of Co. B, 8th Georgia Infantry is said to be lying on the cot on the right.

Did a search and found the same photo in Charlotte's Boys: Civil War Letters of the Branch Family of Savannah by Mauriel P. Joslyn with description ID'ing a couple other men in the photo.

Gettysburg Hospital.jpg


12950916_113707877844.jpg

Photo of brothers (L-R), John, Hamilton and Sanford Branch. All served in Company B "Oglethorpe Light Infantry" of the 8th Georgia Infantry Regiment. John, 1st lieutenant and adjutant, was killed at First Manassas. Hamilton later transferred to the 54th Georgia and served throughout the war. Sanford was captured at First Manassas, was paroled and was wounded and captured again at Gettysburg. He was one of the "Immortal 600" before being exchanged in December 1864.

Here is Sanford's Find A Grave page: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10350744/sanford-walker-branch

This is from Confederate Casualties at Gettysburg: A Comprehensive Record by John and Travis Busey:

Sanford Branch 1.jpg


The Capt. Benton Miller mentioned in the description must be Capt. Benton M. (or H.) Miller in Co. D of the 59th Georgia Infantry.

Benton Miller 1.jpg


Pvt. James Garrett appears to be Pvt. James L. Garrett in Co. B, 8th Georgia.

John Garrett 1.jpg
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,136
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#14
Annie. Are you aware that Greg Coco wrote several books on the wounded of the Gettysburg Battle as well as a book on the Camp Letterman Hospital in Gettysburg. Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago and I am not sure if his books are still available for purchase. However, since you live in Central Pennsylvania I can refer a bookstore to you where you can get some of his books. David.

Of course I missed the book. Thanks very much for the head's up- where may it be found please? Even if I have to navigate all the construction on Front St. and Linglestown Road, it'll be worth it. :angel:

Those are ABSOLUTELY Confederates in that picture, daresay more CS than US in number. The headgear and jean cloth is a dead giveaway

So yes? Interesting, thank you! One more reason to get more informed on uniforms ( which is tough ). Wonder even more if the object of the photographer was documenting Confederate wounded at Gettysburg. Must have dozens of accounts by nurses and civilians about them, never knew there was a photograph- much less that this and the one posted by @AUG were men so far from home.

HOLY gee whiz, this ability to photo sleuth is astonishing!! I'd spent some time trying to match the nurse's image with that of nurses we knew to have been there. It was a huge long shot anyway because so many women arrived plus civilians of Gettysburg massed for wounded. She may be Southern too- it's tough finding more on them but women made the trip to nurse. One group brought civilian clothing to help men escape, seems to have worked in a few cases.

Boy, can you imagine making it through that battle only to die of disease?
 

christian soldier

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Month
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
2,613
#15
Of course I missed the book. Thanks very much for the head's up- where may it be found please? Even if I have to navigate all the construction on Front St. and Linglestown Road, it'll be worth it. :angel:




So yes? Interesting, thank you! One more reason to get more informed on uniforms ( which is tough ). Wonder even more if the object of the photographer was documenting Confederate wounded at Gettysburg. Must have dozens of accounts by nurses and civilians about them, never knew there was a photograph- much less that this and the one posted by @AUG were men so far from home.

HOLY gee whiz, this ability to photo sleuth is astonishing!! I'd spent some time trying to match the nurse's image with that of nurses we knew to have been there. It was a huge long shot anyway because so many women arrived plus civilians of Gettysburg massed for wounded. She may be Southern too- it's tough finding more on them but women made the trip to nurse. One group brought civilian clothing to help men escape, seems to have worked in a few cases.

Boy, can you imagine making it through that battle only to die of disease?
Annie. Contact my friend Jim at Civil War and More Bookstore in Mechanicsburg. His phone number is (717)766-1899. David.
 

christian soldier

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Month
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
2,613
#16
Of course I missed the book. Thanks very much for the head's up- where may it be found please? Even if I have to navigate all the construction on Front St. and Linglestown Road, it'll be worth it. :angel:




So yes? Interesting, thank you! One more reason to get more informed on uniforms ( which is tough ). Wonder even more if the object of the photographer was documenting Confederate wounded at Gettysburg. Must have dozens of accounts by nurses and civilians about them, never knew there was a photograph- much less that this and the one posted by @AUG were men so far from home.

HOLY gee whiz, this ability to photo sleuth is astonishing!! I'd spent some time trying to match the nurse's image with that of nurses we knew to have been there. It was a huge long shot anyway because so many women arrived plus civilians of Gettysburg massed for wounded. She may be Southern too- it's tough finding more on them but women made the trip to nurse. One group brought civilian clothing to help men escape, seems to have worked in a few cases.

Boy, can you imagine making it through that battle only to die of disease?
Annie. Jim should also have the book by Michael Dreese regarding the Second Corps Hospital at Gettysburg. Tell him to give you my discount. David.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2017
Messages
858
#19
Here is an excellent essay on Camp Letterman prepared for the 2010 Gettysburg Symposium by Ranger Matthew Atkinson:

http://npshistory.com/series/symposia/gettysburg_seminars/13/essay5.pdf

From this article I gleaned the following: There were about 500 tents erected at Camp Letterman in the General Hospital area. These tents housed 12 soldiers each. Of the 6000 men treated at Camp Letterman about half were Confederates. The majority of time the tents were segregated---Confederates housed together, Union wounded housed together, usually in separate wards. The tents began to be erected on July 14, 1863 and more and more tents arrived and were erected at least through the end of August. Two photographers are thought to have taken all the photos at Camp Letterman before it was closed the day after Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. The photographers were the Tyson Bros. and Peter Weaver.

So I'm thinking the OP photo was taken by Tyson or Weaver because of the unique and rare opportunity to capture the image of live, breathing, wounded, Confederate soldiers. I think the soldiers in the photo are nearly all Confederate (even the one or two who seem to be dressed in Union blue.) Union officer(s) surely were assigned to keep order in the Confederate Wards, hence they are in the photo also.

I have to agree with @CheathamHill who argues nearly all the uniforms are Confederate.
 

Similar threads




(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top