antietam national battlefield

from photography, photojournalism posted in history


antietam national battlefield
5831 dunker church road
keedysville, maryland 21756

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posted by pete_nice #

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On Sept 17, 1862, the bloodiest battle in American history occurred. On that day, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat at the Battle of Antietam. The battle ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North, and it led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Named after Antitam Creek (and also called the Battle of Sharpsburg, especially in the South), the battle was also the first recorded instance of war photography. Scottish-born Alexander Gardner created a number of images of body-strewn battlefields, leaders and soldiers in tents, and layouts of important locations from the battle. In essence, it was a founding moment of photojournalism.

Garnder worked for the studio of New York portrait photographer Matthew Brady, who claimed sole credit for the photos in subsequent show. When Brady showcased the photos in New York, it caused lines around the block to see them. The Times said, “If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.”

Gardner formed his own photography studio in 1863, and continued to document the war. On some occasions, he was known to have hired assistants use blood red paint to enhance injuries and to move bodies to more dramatic locations for photos. Maybe he should be considered the first Photoshop-er as well.

photo: Alexander Garnder, courtesy of Antietam National Battlefield