|Detail from Gettysburg, Pa. Dead Confederate soldier in the devil's den. Photographed by Alexander Gardner, July 1863. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction number: LC-B8171-7942)|
Like other Civil War photographers, Alexander Gardner sometimes tried to communicate both pathos and patriotism with his photographs, reminding his audience of the tragedy of war without forgetting the superiority of his side's cause. Sometimes, the most effective means of elevating one's cause while demeaning the other was to create a scene -- by posing bodies -- and then draft a dramatic narrative to accompany the picture.