|Detail from Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, July, 1863. Photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, July 1865 (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction number: LC-B8184-7964-A)|
The eye of the camera does not pass judgment on its subjects. Yet Civil War photographers could stir patriotism with their photographs, praising their compatriots while pitying their foes. Photographer Alexander Gardner wrote poignant narratives to accompany his photographs, occasionally inventing stories to make his point. In his Sketch Book, Gardner used two photographs of these dead soldiers, identifying them first as Confederate and then as Union.
Compare the photographer's 1865 narratives with a contemporary analysis: