Media: Slideshow

The Battle of Gettysburg and Its Aftermath

A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Dead soldiers litter the ground in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1 to 3, 1863. Timothy O'Sullivan took this photograph, titled "A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania," and it became one of the most iconic images of the Civil War. This albumen print was made by Alexander Gardner from O'Sullivan's glass-plate negative and used in Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1866), a two-volume work that included 100 mounted photographs of the conflict.

Gardner, a Scottish-born photographer, worked for the renowned Mathew Brady photographic studio in Washington, D.C., from 1856 to 1862, until he opened a rival studio. Gardner poached a number of Brady's best photographers for his own studio, including Timothy O'Sullivan, and after the war produced his illustrated Sketch Book.

Original Author: negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; positive by Alexander Gardner

Created: negative July 1863; print ca. 1865

Medium: Albumen silver photographic print

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, July, 1863

A photograph taken on July 6, 1863, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan depicts a dead Confederate soldier at the Devil's Den, a strategic stone wall manned by sharpshooters during the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle took place from July 1 to 3, 1863, and O'Sullivan photographed the aftermath. In order to create as dramatic a photograph as possible, O'Sullivan moved this dead soldier—who originally laid some forty yards away—placed him next to the wall, put a backpack under his head, and propped a rifle near him. The photographic historian William A. Frassanito deduced that the scene had been staged from a number of clues, among them the fact that the type of rifle pictured was not used by sharpshooters.

This photograph, published in Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the American Civil War (1866) and titled "Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, July, 1863," became one of the iconic images of the war.

Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Created: July 6, 1863

Medium: Albumen photographic print on card mount

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Confederate Dead at Gettysburg

Crude wooden headboards etched with initials (probably those of the dead men) mark the graves of Confederate soldiers who fell during the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863. According to the photographic historian William A. Frassanito, the headboards indicate that fellow Confederates dug the unfinished graves. Timothy O'Sullivan, then working as a photographer for Alexander Gardner's photo studio, made this glass-plate image on July 5, 1863, one day after General Robert E. Lee ordered his Army of Northern Virginia to retreat to Virginia. In the wake of the battle, residents of the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, faced the challenge of burying the dead who lay strewn across the battleground.

Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Created: July 1863

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Confederate Captain William H. Powell

Confederate captain William H. Powell of Company A, 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiment, poses with a Bowie knife in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Philadelphia photographic firm of Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown. Powell's name and regiment were etched into the side of the photographic plate. His regiment was part of the famous Stonewall Brigade named after its first commander, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Powell was wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863.  

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, photographers

Created: Between 1862 and 1865

Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Horses Killed During the Battle of Gettysburg

Dead artillery horses litter the yard of the Trostle farmhouse near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in this glass-plate photograph by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. The 9th Massachusetts Regiment lost fifty horses during a Confederate attack near the farm on July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Other units lost horses that day as well. Catherine Trostle, who lived in the house with her husband and nine children, later filed damage claims against the U.S. government, stating that there were 16 dead horses in front of her house and 100 others scattered across the farm.

Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Created: July 1863

Medium: Albumen photographic print

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Three Confederate Prisoners from the Battle of Gettysburg

In one of the most famous photographs of the Civil War, three captured Confederate soldiers, likely from Louisiana, pose for Mathew Brady on Seminary Ridge in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, the three-day battle that took place on July 1–3, 1863. Photographic historian William A. Frassanito believes this photograph was probably made on July 15, 1863, the day before 2500 Confederate prisoners were sent to prison camps in the North. If that date is correct, Frassanito contends that these soldiers—none of whom seems to be wounded—were likely "stragglers, captured during Union mop-up operations somewhere along either the Chambersburg Pike or Hagerstown Road, [General Robert E.] Lee's main routes of retreat."

Meanwhile, a closer look at their uniforms reveals the soldiers to be much better dressed than tradition would have it. According to legend, the Battle of Gettysburg began when barefoot Confederates entered the town looking for shoes. But historian Richard Pougher has used this photograph as evidence that "the common Confederate soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia was well dressed in Southern military uniforms, well-shod, and well accoutered … He was not the ragged, barefoot, poorly equipped individual in nondescript mix-and-match clothing so many have come to see him as."

Original Author: Mathew Brady

Created: ca. July 15, 1863

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Lutheran Theological Seminary

A man straddles a fence in the foreground of this photograph of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Mathew Brady took this glass-plate image on July 15, 1863, two weeks after the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863). The 1832 Seminary building was controlled first by Union and then by Confederate forces during the battle. The cupola atop the building served as an observation point, and the building itself as a hospital. When this photograph was taken, the building was still being used as a hospital for the casualties of the battle.

Original Author: Mathew Brady

Created: July 15, 1863

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

The Children of the Battle Field.

Frank, Frederick, and Alice Humiston, the children of Sergeant Amos Humiston of Co. C, 154th New York Infantry Regiment, are the subjects of this carte-de-visite photograph. This image is a copy of a tintype that Sergeant Humiston was holding in his hands when he died on the battlefield at Gettysburg in July 1863. The photograph was mass-produced in 1865 by the Philadelphia photographic firm of Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown as a fundraising tool for a planned orphanage for children who lost their fathers during the war. On the back of the image it reads:

This is a copy of the Ferrotype [or tintype] found in the hands of Sergeant Humiston of the 154th N.Y. Volunteers as he lay dead on the Battle Field of Gettysburg.
The copies are sold in furtherance of the National Sabbath School effort to found in Pennsylvania an Asylum for dependent Orphans of Soldiers; in memorial of our Perpetuated Union.

This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, photographers

Created: September 23, 1865

Medium: Albumen photographic print on carte-de-visite mount

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

A detail of a photographic print shows a hatless President Abraham Lincoln (at top center, just above the blurred crowd, with his head bowed, to the left of a very tall man with a top hat and sash) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. On that afternoon—just four and a half months after the bloody Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863)—Lincoln delivered his now famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers' National Cemetery

The Library of Congress identifies the tall man in top hat as Ward Hill Lamon, a friend and a self-appointed bodyguard of the president. Others included in the crowd are Lincoln’s private secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay, orator Edward Everett, and Francis Pierpont, governor of the Restored government of Virginia, who is the bearded figure visible on the far right of the top row.

The photographer who took the original glass-plate negative is uncertain. Photographic historian William A. Frassanito, maintains it was taken by an unknown photographer; the National Archives attributes it to Mathew Brady; and the Center for Civil War Photography attributes it to David Bachrach, an eighteen-year-old Baltimore photographer. The photograph is part of the Brady-Handy Collection of photographs at the Library of Congress.

Original Author: Uncertain

Created: November 19, 1863

Medium: Photographic print

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Zoom In
  • A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

    Dead soldiers litter the ground in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1 to 3, 1863. Timothy O'Sullivan took this photograph, titled "A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania," and it became one of the most iconic images of the Civil War. This albumen print was made by Alexander Gardner from O'Sullivan's glass-plate negative and used in Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1866), a two-volume work that included 100 mounted photographs of the conflict.

    Gardner, a Scottish-born photographer, worked for the renowned Mathew Brady photographic studio in Washington, D.C., from 1856 to 1862, until he opened a rival studio. Gardner poached a number of Brady's best photographers for his own studio, including Timothy O'Sullivan, and after the war produced his illustrated Sketch Book.

    Original Author: negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; positive by Alexander Gardner

    Created: negative July 1863; print ca. 1865

    Medium: Albumen silver photographic print

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, July, 1863

    A photograph taken on July 6, 1863, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan depicts a dead Confederate soldier at the Devil's Den, a strategic stone wall manned by sharpshooters during the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle took place from July 1 to 3, 1863, and O'Sullivan photographed the aftermath. In order to create as dramatic a photograph as possible, O'Sullivan moved this dead soldier—who originally laid some forty yards away—placed him next to the wall, put a backpack under his head, and propped a rifle near him. The photographic historian William A. Frassanito deduced that the scene had been staged from a number of clues, among them the fact that the type of rifle pictured was not used by sharpshooters.

    This photograph, published in Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the American Civil War (1866) and titled "Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, July, 1863," became one of the iconic images of the war.

    Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

    Created: July 6, 1863

    Medium: Albumen photographic print on card mount

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Confederate Dead at Gettysburg

    Crude wooden headboards etched with initials (probably those of the dead men) mark the graves of Confederate soldiers who fell during the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863. According to the photographic historian William A. Frassanito, the headboards indicate that fellow Confederates dug the unfinished graves. Timothy O'Sullivan, then working as a photographer for Alexander Gardner's photo studio, made this glass-plate image on July 5, 1863, one day after General Robert E. Lee ordered his Army of Northern Virginia to retreat to Virginia. In the wake of the battle, residents of the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, faced the challenge of burying the dead who lay strewn across the battleground.

    Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

    Created: July 1863

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Confederate Captain William H. Powell

    Confederate captain William H. Powell of Company A, 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiment, poses with a Bowie knife in this hand-colored ambrotype by the Philadelphia photographic firm of Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown. Powell's name and regiment were etched into the side of the photographic plate. His regiment was part of the famous Stonewall Brigade named after its first commander, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Powell was wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg, fought from July 1 to 3, 1863.  

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, photographers

    Created: Between 1862 and 1865

    Medium: Hand-colored sixth-plate ambrotype

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Horses Killed During the Battle of Gettysburg

    Dead artillery horses litter the yard of the Trostle farmhouse near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in this glass-plate photograph by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. The 9th Massachusetts Regiment lost fifty horses during a Confederate attack near the farm on July 2, 1863, the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Other units lost horses that day as well. Catherine Trostle, who lived in the house with her husband and nine children, later filed damage claims against the U.S. government, stating that there were 16 dead horses in front of her house and 100 others scattered across the farm.

    Original Author: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

    Created: July 1863

    Medium: Albumen photographic print

    Courtesy of Library of Congress

  • Three Confederate Prisoners from the Battle of Gettysburg

    In one of the most famous photographs of the Civil War, three captured Confederate soldiers, likely from Louisiana, pose for Mathew Brady on Seminary Ridge in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, the three-day battle that took place on July 1–3, 1863. Photographic historian William A. Frassanito believes this photograph was probably made on July 15, 1863, the day before 2500 Confederate prisoners were sent to prison camps in the North. If that date is correct, Frassanito contends that these soldiers—none of whom seems to be wounded—were likely "stragglers, captured during Union mop-up operations somewhere along either the Chambersburg Pike or Hagerstown Road, [General Robert E.] Lee's main routes of retreat."

    Meanwhile, a closer look at their uniforms reveals the soldiers to be much better dressed than tradition would have it. According to legend, the Battle of Gettysburg began when barefoot Confederates entered the town looking for shoes. But historian Richard Pougher has used this photograph as evidence that "the common Confederate soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia was well dressed in Southern military uniforms, well-shod, and well accoutered … He was not the ragged, barefoot, poorly equipped individual in nondescript mix-and-match clothing so many have come to see him as."

    Original Author: Mathew Brady

    Created: ca. July 15, 1863

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Lutheran Theological Seminary

    A man straddles a fence in the foreground of this photograph of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Mathew Brady took this glass-plate image on July 15, 1863, two weeks after the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863). The 1832 Seminary building was controlled first by Union and then by Confederate forces during the battle. The cupola atop the building served as an observation point, and the building itself as a hospital. When this photograph was taken, the building was still being used as a hospital for the casualties of the battle.

    Original Author: Mathew Brady

    Created: July 15, 1863

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • The Children of the Battle Field.

    Frank, Frederick, and Alice Humiston, the children of Sergeant Amos Humiston of Co. C, 154th New York Infantry Regiment, are the subjects of this carte-de-visite photograph. This image is a copy of a tintype that Sergeant Humiston was holding in his hands when he died on the battlefield at Gettysburg in July 1863. The photograph was mass-produced in 1865 by the Philadelphia photographic firm of Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown as a fundraising tool for a planned orphanage for children who lost their fathers during the war. On the back of the image it reads:

    This is a copy of the Ferrotype [or tintype] found in the hands of Sergeant Humiston of the 154th N.Y. Volunteers as he lay dead on the Battle Field of Gettysburg.
    The copies are sold in furtherance of the National Sabbath School effort to found in Pennsylvania an Asylum for dependent Orphans of Soldiers; in memorial of our Perpetuated Union.

    This image is part of the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, photographers

    Created: September 23, 1865

    Medium: Albumen photographic print on carte-de-visite mount

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

    A detail of a photographic print shows a hatless President Abraham Lincoln (at top center, just above the blurred crowd, with his head bowed, to the left of a very tall man with a top hat and sash) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. On that afternoon—just four and a half months after the bloody Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863)—Lincoln delivered his now famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers' National Cemetery

    The Library of Congress identifies the tall man in top hat as Ward Hill Lamon, a friend and a self-appointed bodyguard of the president. Others included in the crowd are Lincoln’s private secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay, orator Edward Everett, and Francis Pierpont, governor of the Restored government of Virginia, who is the bearded figure visible on the far right of the top row.

    The photographer who took the original glass-plate negative is uncertain. Photographic historian William A. Frassanito, maintains it was taken by an unknown photographer; the National Archives attributes it to Mathew Brady; and the Center for Civil War Photography attributes it to David Bachrach, an eighteen-year-old Baltimore photographer. The photograph is part of the Brady-Handy Collection of photographs at the Library of Congress.

    Original Author: Uncertain

    Created: November 19, 1863

    Medium: Photographic print

    Courtesy of Library of Congress