The Graduate Center - City University of New York

Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg

This photograph by Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan remains one of the Civil War''s more controversial images. The paper print by Gardner from a glass-plate negative by O'Sullivan was included as plate 41 in the first volume of Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. The image shares a close and revelatory resemblance to the body in plate 40, A Sharpshooter's Last Sleep. Confederate or Union? Sharpshooter or infantryman? The identity of this one fallen soldier in two photographs has provoked a fifty-year debate among scholars about whether the body was moved, Gardner's motivation in taking this image, and the role of photographic credibility in shaping our understanding of the war.

Creator: Alexander Gardner

Date: July 1863

Publisher: Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (Washington, D.C.: Philp & Solomons, c.1866)

Source: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress