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Lincoln’s Arrival at the Dedication of the Soldiers’ Cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863

18 Nov

Three stereoscopic glass plate negatives taken at the Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery dedication on November 19, 1863  have been credited to Alexander Gardner’s photographic team. Positive images of the three negatives appear below, courtesy of the Library of Congress. It is believed that the order in which they were taken was first unraveled in 2012 by this author in his ebook Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg: A Review of Alexander Gardner’s Stereoscopic Photos (2012).All 3aThe Gardner photographers perched their dual lens camera atop some sort of a photographic platform which may have been nothing more sophisticated than a folding twelve foot ladder or two. Note the back of a partially bald head which appears in the lower portion of the immediate foreground in the first and last view above. It might be Alexander Gardner’s head captured as he faced out towards the historic scene while standing just below the camera on the front steps of a ladder. A later view of Gardner taken after the war near Manhattan, Kansas (according to R. Mark Katz) appears to reveal that he had that kind of male pattern balding.

As discovered by John J. Richter, photographic detail very likely reveals an Alexander Gardner photographer — visible under the red arrow below — standing atop the photographic platform. This view is attributed to photographer Peter S. Weaver and was taken from a 2nd story window in the Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse on November 19, 1863 (courtesy, the Library of Congress). 32845umarkedZooming in reveals a darker object beneath the man and just above the heads of several men either on horseback or standing on the front steps of the ladder(s) — likely Gardner’s camera (below).  32845u-gardner2 That photographic platform was used in order to “see” over the large crowd and get a glimpse at portions of (and the area around) the speakers’ platform, as well as other key and unique features, such as a 100 foot tall flagpole erected for the occasion, the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse, some of East Cemetery Hill, and a large white tent constructed for the privacy of Edward Everett, the keynote speaker. The left side of the first glass plate negative — LC-B815-1160 — exposed within the sequence of three is shown below (courtesy of the Library of Congress). 00652a-left stereo-modified The speakers’ platform, which was described by one observer as only 3 feet above the ground, faced not towards the Gardner photographic position, but was oriented from its center towards the tall flagpole. As described in this author’s book Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg (follow the link), the seating on the speaker’s rostrum was arranged in an orchestral fashion, with its several levels arcing around the center area of the first row where Lincoln sat. If you wonder why Gardner’s team set up their camera so far from the speakers’ platform, please read Heberton’s Lincoln: The Case,” for an analysis. That article, in conjunction with the book Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, also explains why Gardner likely chose to set up his photographic platform at such a severe angle to the speakers’ platform rather than selecting a more “head-on” perspective centered to the middle of the rostrum.

A modern “now” photograph taken by the author on November 18, 2013 in the Gettysburg National Soldiers’ Cemetery from roughly the same location as Gardner’s views is compared with “then” photographic detail from the first exposed Gardner plate, below:Comparison of Gardner's view with modern view1 The Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse, clearly visible in the Gardner view, is almost completely obscured by trees in the modern view. Excluding an addition built after 1863, the gatehouse structure looks much today as it did then. The Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Monument currently stands where the tall flagpole (cropped at its top) is visible in the Gardner stereo view detail.

Working with a very high-res scan of those images provided to him by the Library of Congress, John J. Richter concluded that he had pinpointed Abraham Lincoln in two of the three photographs seated atop a horse obscured from the camera in the exact same location in both of those views. Mr. Richter’s discovery was widely hailed by the national press (follow the link). It was remarkable to realize that Lincoln had gone undetected in two stereo views taken at Gettysburg for all of those years until the announcement in November 2007. See detail, below, of Mr. Richter’s Lincoln candidate from both views. 00673a-left stereo-cropped-sharpened detail 2d staff-modIn early 2008, William A. Frassanito posted  an article at a friend’s blog (follow the link) which opined that the man Mr. Richter identified as Lincoln wasn’t Honest Abe and added several arguments why it was virtually impossible for Lincoln to have been visible when any of the stereo views were taken. Mr. Frassanito wrote that “it is well documented that Lincoln was accompanied and flanked by several mounted civilians, including the chief marshal and three members of Lincoln’s cabinet” and concluded that the three images reveal that all of Gardner’s views were taken only after Lincoln and the other dignitaries had been seated on the speakers’ platform.

In 2012, this author published Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg which sequenced the three stereo views, discussed the documentary and photographic evidence, and concluded that Lincoln could have been present and also visible in the images as he was arriving by horseback at the speakers’ platform. That book also evaluated John Richter’s candidate, finding that he could be Lincoln despite the absence of conclusive visual evidence. It was explained, however, that the author’s research did not uncover any contemporary accounts describing Lincoln riding alone in front of and just beyond the speakers’ platform, raising his left arm as if giving a salute, and remaining seated atop his horse unflinchingly for a minute or two or three. Several potential appearance issues involving Mr. Richter’s candidate also were evaluated relating to his hat, hairline, shirt collar, and beard.

However, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg also disclosed another Lincoln candidate whom this author feels is even more compelling than Mr. Richter’s because of a substantial amount of supporting contextual evidence: the location of that candidate, the visible crowd’s attention focused in his direction in both photos, the respectful hat-tipping reaction of some members of the crowd whose gazes were glued to him, his very close proximity to the man assigned by the Secretary of War to escort Lincoln (Provost Marshal General Fry), his tall silk hat adorned by a different-toned band matching accounts that Lincoln’s hat was wrapped with a mourning band, his large white-gloved right hand extended palm-up toward the camera in the first view, and what can be discerned of his facial appearance. The most striking of his facial features is his Lincoln-like jutting chin capped by a modest beard. See Heberton’s Lincoln candidate, below, from the first and second Gardner stereo views. Detail from one of Lincoln’s studio images taken by Alexander Gardner in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 1863 has been inserted next to the “ghost image” (caused by a hyper-fleeting pose) in the second photo to allow for a side-by-side comparison.  17807u-detail015 17806a-ghost-lincolnBecause this man’s face appears in dark shadows created by the brow of his hat in the first view and he likely moved during much of the lengthy exposure in the second view creating a “ghost image” in front of a “fixed” image of his tall silk hat, the case for this candidate as Lincoln is more heavily anchored to substantial contextual support. See detail, below, from the first-in-time Gardner stereo view revealing the relative positions of Mr. Richter’s candidate, this author’s candidate, and Mr. Oakley’s candidate (discussed below). 17807u_crop_boy3But there is a third candidate. The Smithsonian Magazine, in its October 2013 article “Will the Real Abraham Lincoln Please Stand Up?,” proclaimed that within one of the Alex Gardner stereo views, Christopher Oakley had made “what looks to be the most significant, if not the most provocative, Abraham Lincoln photo find of the last 60 years.” Mr. Oakley asserted that his candidate was “accidentally” captured by Gardner’s camera as he stood frozen throughout the entire passage of that plate’s lengthy exposure while stooped over, looking at the ground beneath him, and holding a rigid pose for several seconds despite surmounting unseen steps leading to the platform. The many reasons why Professor Oakley’s candidate cannot be Abraham Lincoln — ranging from his completely mismatched nose to the fact that he is seated (not standing) in two photos nowhere near the spot that Lincoln is documented to have been seated, “guarded” by two little boys, and ignored by all of the visible spectators on the speakers’ platform — are laid out in Heberton’s Lincoln: The Case,” Where is Lincoln?: Heberton Takes on the Flaws in Oakley’s Case,” the press release Should Oakley’s Lincoln Sit Down?,” and The Big Picture: Where Would Lincoln Be? Heberton Reveals His Findings.” Click on those links also for a fuller explanation of the case for this author’s Lincoln candidate. Here is Mr. Oakley’s “enhanced” representation of his hawk-nosed Lincoln candidate which he presented on the CBS Evening News broadcast on November 19, 2013 along with detail from Gardner’s second stereo view at the Library of Congress. 2013-011-19_CBS Evening New_002 04063u cxA visual review of the detail within the first and second Gardner view reveals that Mr. Oakley’s candidate was seated in the same spot in both views. That location is at the extreme far end of the platform and, as can been seen, is not in the first row of seats. Moreover, Mr. Oakley claims that the man seated to the right of his candidate for Lincoln is Secretary of State William H. Seward. Lincoln, in actuality, was seated in the center of the front row, with Seward to his left, nowhere near Mr. Oakley’s candidate pictured below:compare 07Below is a comparison between a different photograph (on the top) attributed to photographer David Bachrach showing exactly where Lincoln was seated with Seward to his left (rather than to his right) and the Gardner stereo (on the bottom). The Bachrach photo is marked to illustrate the area where Mr. Oakley’s candidate was seated had it been visible in that view. This gives one a perspective of how far removed Mr. Oakley’s candidate was situated from where President Lincoln sat.00cPresently, this author believes that Mr. Oakley’s candidate for Seward could be soft-chinned Simon Cameron, who earlier in 1863 had resigned his position as the U.S. minister to Russia and returned to his native Pennsylvania. Before his appointment as ambassador, Cameron had stepped down as Lincoln’s Secretary of War in January of 1862 because of “mismanagement, corruption and abuse of patronage.” This would explain why he was seated in an area relatively proximate to where a number of foreign diplomats were situated but well removed from Lincoln. See, below, a horizontally flipped studio image of Simon Cameron (courtesy, the Library of Congress) placed in the middle of cropped detail of the man whom Mr. Oakley has unequivocally identified as Oakley Seward to Simon Cameron flippedThe left side of the first exposed Gardner negative at Gettysburg  — LC-B815-1160 — is marked, below, to show the locations of the three Lincoln candidates.00652a-left-stereo-modified-midpoint-language62What is to be made of these 3 Lincoln candidates? Some people embrace one of them as Lincoln. Some just don’t know or are bewildered when they too quickly attempt to interpret the photographic evidence and ignore the contextual documentary evidence. Others adhere to the position that Gardner merely took three “establishing” or “generic crowd shots” (representing the sum total of his photographic work at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863), had zero interest in capturing a scene with Lincoln, and didn’t even accidentally capture Lincoln in any of the three stereo views. Nevertheless, an evaluation of whether Gardner intentionally placed his camera where he did in order to try to capture two relatively rapid-fire views of Lincoln arriving at the Cemetery upon his horse + one much later view of the famous keynote speaker, Edward Everett, arriving on the speaker’s platform is laid out in Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg and several of this author’s blog articles at

Below is a summary of the cases for each of the 3 Lincoln candidates. The contemporary accounts establish that Lincoln wore a mourning band on his tall silk hat, his hands were covered by white gloves, many of the men in the crowd on the speakers’ platform removed their hats in a show of respect when Lincoln arrived in the front of the platform, Lincoln was surrounded by dignitaries as he approached the platform and when he surmounted its steps, Lincoln “was the [most] observed of the observed” when he arrived, Lincoln was seated in the very center of the front row of chairs placed on the platform, Lincoln made a graceful bow to the crowd after his arrival, and Lincoln paid great attention to children in Gettysburg, including picking up and placing a child on his saddle briefly during his horseback ride in the procession to the Cemetery from the town. 3 Lincoln comparison 2015-11-16[2]

What do you, a member of the jury, think? Remember that the standard of evidence to be applied is merely a “preponderance of the evidence” and not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This isn’t a criminal trial. Can you reach a verdict or do you think we have a “hung jury?”

by Craig Heberton

November 18, 2015. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved by Craig Heberton.

Note: This author now believes that the man appearing seated to the left of Lincoln (Lincoln’s right) in the photo attributed to David Bachrach is not Ward H. Lamon, as marked on one of the images above, but Lincoln’s assistant John Nicolay. This is in harmony with Mr. Oakley’s identification of that man.



“The Civil War” by Ken Burns: A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM

11 Sep

“The Civil War’s” Episode #5 — “The Universe of Battle – 1863” — is about 1.5 hours long. It begins with the image of a famous photograph by Mathew B. Brady and his team taken in Gettysburg about 10-14 days after the battle’s end.  While showing this picture of three captured (or deserter) Confederate soldiers posing for Brady as if they were paid professionals, Shelby Foote lyrically emotes: “there’s something about that picture that draws me strongly as an image of the war.” Mr. Foote reveals that his fondness comes from his interpretation of the body language of one of the soldiers as that of proud defiance.

01450a detail

Crammed into the final 6 minutes of the end of that episode is a segment Ken Burns titled “A New Birth of Freedom.”

Despite this segment’s short treatment of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, that particular title has evolved over time into one of the most important themes of the entire movie. Burns has repeated it over and over again in dozens upon dozens of interviews during the last 25 years in order to explain the modern relevancy of both “The Civil War” and the conflict itself.

The opening scene in “A New Birth of Freedom” is video footage of former Missouri Congressman James W. Symington eloquently reflecting that if he:

had a choice of all the moments he could be present at during [the] war period it would be at Gettysburg during Lincoln’s delivery of his speech. Maybe to have seen him craft those beautiful words, those marvelous healing words, and then deliver them. They were for everyone, for all time. They subsumed the entire war and all in it. It showed his compassion for everyone. His love for his people. That’s where I’d like to be.”

I remember watching this 25 years ago and saying out loud to no one in particular: “that, too, is where I would want to be.”

After Symington finishes, David McCullough narrates: “On November 19th, Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to dedicate the new Union cemetery.”

Oops, a blooper! Lincoln actually traveled to Gettysburg on the 18th and we as a nation are very lucky he did.

Had Lincoln left Washington, D.C. on the morning of the 19th, as Secretary of War Stanton had planned, Lincoln never would have arrived at Gettysburg on time. Yet even if he had been delivered there by divine intervention, Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” would have been very different. Lincoln wouldn’t have rewritten a portion of his speech at David Wills’ home on the night of the 18th or visited a portion of the battlefield by carriage very early on the morning of the 19th, after which he possibly added the last several critical lines of his Address … including the words “a new birth of freedom.”

There also would have been no serenading of Lincoln by the crowds in Gettysburg on the night of the 18th, resulting in Lincoln’s “First” Gettysburg Address. In that very short public address, Lincoln stood by an open doorway and joked that he had no speech to give and therefore, based upon past experience, would not give any. It was this address which many Northern Democrat-owned and Southern newspapers alike reported as Lincoln’s ONE & ONLY Gettysburg Address — for which they mocked Lincoln derisively.

About a minute and half into “A New Birth of Freedom,” we come face-to-face with the print of a very famous photograph. Burns then focuses our attention exclusively on that photo over the next 66 seconds (a capture of the second shot of it from the remastered film in HD, below).


It is a photo which was taken at the sight of the dedication of Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ Cemetery. And it’s original negative, sadly, has been lost to history. Of greatest importance is that it is the only Gettysburg photograph which is universally agreed to show Lincoln [to read about another which may also show Lincoln, click this link]. Yet Lincoln’s appearance within it wasn’t announced until February 11, 1953 after Josephine Cobb of the National Archives tentatively identified Lincoln. A consensus was reached over time that it is him.

Ken Burns used this photograph in three separate and consecutive shots. In the first, he zoomed in on detail to the left, revealing some of the soldiers standing in a hollow square formation. They are turned to face towards the camera and strike a pose (the same detail from an image courtesy of the Library of Congress, at right).


The second frame shows the entire photograph, giving some sense of the scale of the event (but not its full scope) and the distance the photographers were set up from the speakers’ platform and the crowds jammed around Lincoln and others. In its third usage, Burns filmed a very tight shot of an area on the speaker’s platform and had his camera zoom in towards the face of Abraham Lincoln. Here is a capture of Burn’s tightest shot from the remastered film in HD available at, placed side-by-side with detail from a Library of Congress scan (at right).


David McCullough narrates the following during the minute plus airing of this photo:

Then Lincoln rose. A local photographer took his time focusing. Presumably the President could be counted on to go for a while. But he spoke just 269 words … Lincoln was heading back to his seat before the photographer could open the shutter.

Just a small faux pas here because the camera those men used was not equipped with a shutter. Rather, an exposure was created simply by removing and replacing a cap over the lens. Crude home-made drop shutter lenses were then a great rarity.

The story Mr. McCullough described is a combination of two accounts published more than 30 years after the event. Those accounts spoke to the presence of a photographer right in front of the platform who failed to take a picture of Lincoln while he stood and spoke. To be clear, neither those accounts nor Mr. McCullough’s narration relate in any way to this photograph.

It was first deduced by William A. Frassanito, to my knowledge, that the photographers who took this image in which Lincoln is discernible were David Bachrach of Baltimore and an undentified cameraman from Harper’s Weekly. I firmly believe that those men might be seen together within detail from a different photograph taken on the grounds of the Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery on November 19, 1863 (see below, courtesy of the Library of Congress). One can be made out (through the limbs of a tree) seated atop a tall folding ladder. He is peering through his camera with his left arm extended while the other man stands near him with a portable darkroom on a tripod. If these men are not Bachrach and the Harper’s Weekly photographer, then they are likely David Woodbury and Anthony Berger (two Mathew Brady photographers). They were first pointed out and described in the book Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg” For more about them, click here for the article “Finding Photographers and Their Equipment in Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery Photos.”

32845u-auto adjusted5

Bachrach wrote in 1916 that “I took the portable dark-room and [went to Gettysburg], and did the technical work of photographing the crowd, not with the best result while Mr. Everett was speaking.” That is exactly what the photograph used by Ken Burns and showing Lincoln depicts: Edward Everett standing and speaking (see him in blurred detail, below at left).

07639u_BachrachMr. Bachrach made no mention of attempting to photograph Lincoln while he spoke or even after he returned to his seat. It is logical that he would have mentioned it had he done so.

If you wonder what Lincoln was doing the moment he was photographed, take a look at the following and click “Addressing What Lincoln is Doing While Seated on the Platform at Gettysburg.”


Fell free to share with me what you think.

There’s something about that picture that draws me strongly as an image of the Civil War!

Craig Heberton, September 10, 2015

John Mulvany’s Paintings and Politics by Anne Weber

21 Mar

The following piece is authored by Anne Weber and addresses John Mulvany who worked for Mathew Brady:

John Mulvany was part of Mathew Brady’s Civil War stable of young photographers and artists who later gained fame, including men such as Walter Shirlaw1 and Timothy O’Sullivan.2  Mulvany is best known as a Western Painter who painted “Custer’s Last Rally” in 1881However, there was much more to him than that. Mulvany recorded the Civil War on canvas as well as scenes of the West and he became deeply involved in the cause for Irish freedom which profoundly affected his career.  His story of fame, murder and revenge is the subject of my research.

 Mulvany was born in Diralagh, Co. Meath, Ireland in 1839 to tenant farmers.  When he immigrated to New York City in 1851 at the age of 12,3 he was old enough to have witnessed and grasped the horrors of the Irish famine.4  By the time he arrived in Washington, D.C. to work for Brady by 1863, he had acquired excellent sketching and coloring skills at the National Academy of Design5 and had worked in Chicago as a colorist.6

The time Mulvany spent working for a newspaper7 and then at Brady’s D.C. gallery, gave him first-hand experience in capturing the carnage and chaos of war.  This may be why his later Civil War paintings were praised for their realism – paintings such as Sheridan’s Ride at Winchester (unlocated), McPherson and Revenge, and Battle of Shiloh (unlocated).

It is possible Mulvany attended the First Fenian Convention held in Philadelphia in 1863; he was in the area.  He did attend the Second Fenian Brotherhood Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1865.8  This secret society recruited heavily during the Civil War and raised money and manpower for future Irish uprisings.  After three failed invasions into Canada, the Fenians floundered and reemerged as the Clan na Gael.

At the same time he engaged in political activity in the Clan na Gael and worked for Samuel B. Fassett, a leading photographer in Chicago,9 Mulvany submitted paintings to exhibitions in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.10  This was when he focused on becoming a serious painter.  Mulvany found a patron in St. Louis, Samuel B. Coale, who provided terms for him to study in Europe11 where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Fine Art at Munich.12  Mulvany won a medal for his efforts, and returned to Chicago in the fall of 1871 just before the devastating fire.13

Over the next five years Mulvany worked in Eldon, IA, St Louis, MO, Denver, CO, and Louisville, KY. In 1876 he exhibited “Preliminary Trial of a Horsethief” in New York City.  The painting won him national recognition and a reputation as a Western Painter.

As the country celebrated its 100th anniversary, news of General George Custer’s fatal defeat by the Sioux Indians reached the East.  Mulvany immediately recognized the significance of this event and headed west to Montana to capture it on canvas. Over the next four years, he made two trips to the battle site and set up a studio in Cincinnati, Salida, Denver and then in Kansas City. By 1881, the painting was ready.  Soon after, Mulvany’s large masterpiece, the 11ft x 20ft “Custer’s Last Rally,”, began its amazing seventeen year coast-to-coast tour of the country before Heinz took over ownership in 1898.15

Just as the Custer work was receiving great accolades in the press,16 Mulvany shifted his focus to Irish historical subjects.  This redirection of creative efforts meant he would lose his commercial artistic momentum and his hard earned reputation.  Custer was never exhibited within art circles and did not receive critical review. Mulvany hitched his star to the commission he secured from the Irish Club of Chicago to paint “The Battle of Aughrim” – a tragic loss for the Irish in 1691.  John began preliminary sketches in Ireland in 1882 and finished the piece in 1885.17

Internal differences in the Chicago Clan na Gael over financial decisions and military objectives eventually created strife and internecine fighting among the various camps and the leadership.18  Mulvany chose sides which resulted in the loss of his commission, and most of his support while Mulvany’s friend, Dr. Patrick Cronin, was murdered in 1889,19 for his accusations of financial improprieties against the Clan’s leadership.

Mulvany crisscrossed the country eight times before he finally headed East in late 1896.  He set up studios in 21 different cities, sketching, painting and moving on; often leaving finished works and at least one debt behind.  At the age of 58, he finally settled in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, NY where he remained the rest of his life.  Despite many disappointments, he continued his artistic career seeking exhibition opportunities, painting portraits, and even sketching up until two weeks before his death.20

The most intriguing work Mulvany did in this period was “The Anarchist” in 1902. It depicted six men cutting cards to determine who would commit murder.  These were the men whom, I believe, Mulvany held responsible for Dr. Cronin’s death. Friends advised him it was too dangerous to exhibit:21  powerful men in the Clan na Gael were still struggling for control of the splintered organization and would do anything to avoid more scandal as international Irish leaders urged unity in an effort to raise money. The painting is unlocated.  If found, it might be worth more than “Battle of Aughrim, which was put up for sale on eBay in 2010.22 The Gory Gallery in Ireland subsequently listed it at E240,000 and sold it to a private collector.

Mulvany died by drowning in early May 1906; when he passed away the press was not kind.23  He was 66 years old, suffering from throat cancer, vertigo and the effects of alcoholism.24

Mulvany’s contributions are several. He not only influenced William Merrit Chase25 and Frederick Remington,26 he also brought an international perspective to American Western Art. In addition, his life reflects a broader Irish immigrant experience than typically recorded.  As more of his paintings are found, his artistic career can be further evaluated and reassessed.  Locating over a dozen Civil War paintings stored somewhere in Brooklyn at the time of his death27 and the collection of Major Thomas of Louisville, KY28 would help further that goal immensely.

If anyone has questions or information about Mulvany’s life and work, please contact: weberanne3 AT gmail DOT com (just eliminate the spaces and change AT to @ and DOT to the symbol for dot – Thank you). 

1  American Art News, Vol 8, No. 12 Jan 1, 1910 and Endnote #9 in Craig Heberton’s Chewing on a. Burger.  Abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress 22 Feb. 2014  Walter Shirlaw attended the NAD and the Academy of Fine Art in Munich with Mulvany.  They stayed in contact through the years.

2  Journal of the New York Irish – Roundtable Vol. 13 Through Irish Eyes; The Civil War Photography of Timothy O’Sullivan by Brian McGinn

3  Early  information from family genealogy and Tuite’s Gaelic American 3 part series in March/April 1909

4  Cusack, Danny. The Great Famine in County Meath. Meath County Council,  Ireland, 1995

5  National Academy of Design Registry  at

6 Tuite, Gaelic American, 6 March 1909 and Lucy Deere interview Sacramento Union 1943.

7  Tuite, Gaelic American (6 March 1909) “…some of the best army sketches published during the war came from Mulvany’s pencil”

8    Proceedings of the Second national Congress of the Fenian Brotherhood held in Cincinnati, Ohio17 Jan 1865. J. Gibbons, Philadelphia 1856 Vo. 2 pg 44

9    1867 Chicago City Directory

10  NAD Exhibition Records, Philadelphia Sketch Club, ChicagoAcademy of Design Exhibition Records 1868 – Smithsonian Archives of American Art

11  Morrissey, Paintings and Painters, Gateway Magazine 1998 pg 30 and  Fuhrmeister, Kohle, Thielemans Eds. American Artists in Munich pg 85. Samuel A. Coale and Hercules Dousmann, Jr. were both possible choices for Mulvany’s future patrons (see email of 10/24/11 Mercantile librarian Julie Dunn-Morton’s dissertation).

12  htpp://  – academy records of the Royal Munich Academy

13 “Art in Chicago,”  Daily Alta, California 4 Nov. 1871

15  Letter to Mulvany from Goodyear Rubber Hose and Packing Co. 21 Nov, 1898 in the Alice Muldoon Garvey Collection and Stenzel, Franz & Kathryn, Research Files for Unpublished book on western art, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Don Russell includes a very similar story about the sale of Cassily Adam’s painting to Anheuser-Busch pg. 33 in ‘Custer’s Last’.

16  Walt Whitman  15 August, 1881 New York Times

17 Dublin University Review August 1885

18 Tuite, Gaelic American series  1909.  Chicago Clan leadership was secretly carrying out terrorist bombings in London (The Dynamite Wars) and John barely escaped an English prison.

19 Hunt, Henry M, The Crime of the Century or The Assassination of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin.  H.L. & D.H. Kochersperger, 1889    The Dynamite Wars

20  Alcie Muldoon Garvey Collection, and  working catalogue raisonne

21 Letter from Mulvany to McBeth gallery

22 O’Sullivan, Niamh, ‘Battle of Aughrim’, Irish Times,2 October 2010, ‘Lost Painting’.

23 “‘Eccentric Artist a Suicide’, New York Sun, 23 May 1906,  Painter of ‘Last Rally’ drowned in East River’, New York Times, 23 May 1906. “…a waif…suicide…a drunken derelict”

24 Alice Muldoon Garvey Collection

25 Roff, K. Metcalf, The Life and Art of William Merrit Chase, New York 1917

26  “Kansas City, Cradle of Remington’s Art”, Kansas City Star, 3 May 1925.

27  New York Sun ,23 May 1906

28 Pennington, Lessons in Likeness; Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington.  2011

Identification of Brady Views of Lincoln’s Funeral Hearse in New York on April 25, 1865

20 Mar

Paul Taylor of Columbia, MD believes that he has discovered a historic photographic scene — hiding in plain sight until now — within the National Archives photograph collection. It is a four lens camera image apparently taken from an elevated window in Mathew Brady’s New York City gallery then located on Broadway and Tenth Street, showing a huge crowd gathered outside New York’s Grace Church and an enormous horse-drawn hearse appearing as a blurred image due to the lengthy exposure time of the wet-plate collodion image.  The image, below, is from the National Archives, at:


There are clues within these images, as well as in another four lens image of the same scene taken some time prior to the arrival of the hearse, pointing to the conclusion that they were taken on the afternoon of April 25, 1865, 10 days after Lincoln’s death, and show Lincoln’s funeral cortege leaving New York City and continuing on its ultimate journey to Springfield, IL.

Michael E. Ruane’s article about the discovery appears in the March 19, 2014 edition of the Washington Post at:

Richard E. Sloan, author of “Abraham Lincoln’s New York City Funeral” which appears as a chapter in The Lincoln Assassination: Crime and Punishment, Myth and Memory (2010), is well “convinced that the pictures show the [Lincoln] funeral scenes. According to Mr. Sloan, “[t]here’s no doubt about it.”

Don’t miss reading the COMMENTS section of the Washington Post article, as folks have started to weigh in with their own analysis of Mr. Taylor’s exciting new discovery. If you have any comments you would like to post to this blog, please feel free to do so! Over time, this article may be updated to serve as a repository for the reactions of noted experts and amateur researchers to this discovery, so check back in frequently for further updates.

By Craig Heberton, March 20, 2014

———–> March 23, 2014 update by Craig Heberton:

(1) LOCATION: It is clear that NYC’s Grace Church (which still stands) is visible in the images and, therefore, the funeral hearse was heading north on Broadway (moving from right to left) after passing Tenth Street. This matches the route taken by Lincoln’s funeral procession on April 25, 1865 when his casket was in the process of leaving Manhattan in order to proceed onto the next leg of its journey to Albany.

(2) POSITION OF THE CAMERA: The angle at which the images were taken and the fact that Broadway significantly re-orients itself in a more northerly direction after crossing Tenth Street on its way towards Union Square constitute substantial evidence that the four lens camera was located on an upper floor of MATHEW B. BRADY’s photographic studio and gallery at 785 Broadway (Brady leased space there from sometime in early 1860 until about 1873). The camera probably was pointed out of a window on the Tenth Street side of the building or was situated on the roof. Therefore, it is almost a certainty that Brady’s camera operators exposed the images taken from this camera position. I believe that the camera was over 100 feet from the hearse at the time of the exposure, which conforms with an estimated range of distances resulting from placement of a camera on the Tenth St. side of Brady’s gallery determined by using Google Map’s Measurement Tool.

There had to have been something VERY BIG going on because Brady’s photographers tried to capture a particular but unpredictable moment in time rather than merely a fixed static scene of their choosing. This was challenging because the photographers couldn’t predict exactly when and under what sunlight conditions they would have to expose the glass plate. Rather, they were forced to estimate several minutes in advance when the hearse would come into view, whether it would stop or be in motion throughout, and under what degree of sunlight it would be visible. Glass plates had to be prepared shortly before their use and if the “film” created on them dried out before they were exposed , they could not record an image of acceptable quality. Thus, Brady’s photographers had to try to precisely time the shot and be wary of the possibility that, for example, the sun might dip behind some clouds at the last second, changing all of their prior calculations of how long to expose the plate, which waterman stops should be used, etc. Because they were trying to record the passage of a hearse to capture a moment of HISTORY they had to try to prepare for a number of different scenarios. The highly blurred horse-drawn hearse is a product of the multi-second exposure time required of wet-plate collodion photography. Unless the cameramen expected the hearse to come to a complete stop directly across from Grace Church, they would have known that their chances of capturing a clear image of the moving hearse was a long-shot. Nevertheless, these unknown Brady camera operators seemingly gave it a try because the magnitude of the historical moment demanded such.

(3) TIME OF YEAR: A flowering tree — perhaps a dogwood, magnolia tree, or an azalea bush — is visible in the foreground. The deciduous trees on the other side of Broadway are leafless but may have been adorned with spring buds which cannot be readily seen. According to the Azalea Society of America, the earliest blooming azaleas in New York City on average begin in early April.  Flowering dogwood trees typically are in bloom in April. Even cherry trees are apt to bloom in mid-April. Mary Finn notes that the saucer magnolia begins to blossom in New York City in late March or early April and is “seen in the neatly-manicured gardens of every houseproud owner in the borough and in adjacent Queens.” Other types of magnolias also are a possibility. See The dress of the spectators suggests that many had arrived earlier in the day to stake out their spots when there was still a chill in the air and that they stood waiting for some time in order to witness a historic event. Richard E. Sloan writes in his chapter entitled “Abraham Lincoln’s New York City Funeral,” that “[a]t the intersection of Canal and Spring streets, the sun beat down unmercifully on the tremendous grieving throng that had waited patiently for hours to glimpse the hearse.”

(4) TIME OF DAY: The sun shines brightly both on Grace Church and the enormous crowd standing adjacent to it on the opposite side of Broadway, establishing that the sun was beginning its descent to the west in the afternoon. Numerous opened umbrellas and parasols are visible and were deployed to protect its handlers from the descending sun. The earlier exposed view, taken when a portion of a large contingent of about 150 police officers [correction: soldiers] stood on and off to the side of Broadway, illustrates that the sun was significantly higher in the sky at that time because some of the policemen standing on the street cast a southerly shadow onto its pavement. In the later National Archives images, the passing hearse appears not to cast ANY southerly shadows behind it. The distance between City Hall and Tenth St. on Broadway today is about 22 blocks (1.45 miles). The procession was supposed to leave City Hall at 1 p.m. on April 25th and Lincoln’s casket was to be out of the city by 4:15 p.m. The actual time his catafalque began moving down Broadway and reached its terminus in Manhattan may have been different if the newspaper reports are accurate — for example, the April 26, 1865 edition of the New York Tribune reported that “precisely at two o’clock, the vast Cortege began to move from City Hall, and without any delay worth mentioning continued until 4:10 o’clock, when the end passed through the Park, the Procession, exclusive of the military, thus occupying two hours and ten minutes in passing.” Nevertheless, it can be estimated that Lincoln’s hearse could have passed by Brady’s photographic gallery anywhere between 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

(5) REACTION OF THE CROWD: The people on the opposite side of the street battled a mid-to-late afternoon sun. Along with the ladies hiding under their parasols, a few men can be seen holding their hats in front of their faces and angling them in order to shield their eyes from the sun as the hearse passed. Most of the men positioned closest to the hearse just as it passed by them in front of Grace Church are hatless. A majority of the men back towards Tenth Street who presumably had doffed their hats as the hearse moved by them a few seconds earlier had replaced their hats on their heads.

(6) FEATURES OF THE HEARSE: One of the more curious details is the fact that the camera operators of the National Archives four lens images exposed the glass plate only after the hearse had moved from the sunlit portion of the pavement into a heavily shaded area + when the hearse and accompanying soldiers were moving rather than stopped. Compare this to an image of Lincoln’s hearse captured at a standstill at a different location within a Library of Congress stereo view which probably was taken opposite of a building located at 688 Broadway, about 6 blocks south of Brady’s photographic establishment. A poster with the handle “mmoretti” has written that a boot maker named Samuel Acton was then at 688 Broadway, matching the “Maker” sign visible behind the catafalque and above the address “688.” (Note: Samuel Acton, maker of boots, is listed at 698 Broadway in the 1864-1865 Trow’s New York City Directory at p.24). See detail of that image below from

19422u cropbw

It is possible that the Brady cameramen expected the hearse to stop after crossing Tenth so that they could capture it motionless in full sunlight. But the resulting image probably reflects the vagaries of both expectations or hopes unmet and the difficulty of precisely timing a collodion wet-plate photograph (given the several minutes of preparatory time required to adjust the optical focus, set waterman stops, and prepare the glass plate for use by “flowing it with collodion, soaking it in a chemical bath, drying it, placing it in a light-proof holder, and inserting the holder and plate into the back of the camera, etc.). Consequently, the hearse was captured when it was moving + within very dark shadows cast by a building on the other side of Tenth opposite Brady’s building possibly at either 787 or 789 Broadway. The dark shadows falling on the hearse and the soldiers marching in accompaniment at the sides of and behind the hearse coupled with their movement throughout the exposure make it extremely difficult to analyze details relating to the hearse or the soldiers. Four dark feathered bundles of giant ostrich plumes encircling Lincoln’s casket appear to be visible as a blurry mess in the images. Other readily observed features include a wavy garland of white flowers and light-colored fringe at the base of the hearse’s dark cloth enclosing its bottom-most portion, both of which are visible in other Lincoln hearse images. What is not visible atop the catafalque is a miniature version of the Temple of Liberty which is discernible in other Lincoln funeral procession photos and sketches. Perhaps it was removed when the casket was publicly displayed at City Hall on the prior day and not put back on the hearse. A more likely explanation, however, is that it cannot be seen simply because of the distorting and “ghosting” effects of motion.

Someone posted a valuable visual tool at: The unknown creator of that .jpg superimposed within one of the four National Archives images a cut-out of a confirmed image of Lincoln’s funeral cortege in New York City from the Library of Congress stereo view mentioned above, thereby creating a side-by-side comparison within the National Archives image. Even though the Library of Congress picture was taken from atop an apparent fire-escape balcony at a much lower elevation (note: such a balcony is affixed to that building today about 20 to 25 feet above the street level) which afforded a significantly closer and lower angled view of the Lincoln hearse than the National Archives four lens images, it does facilitate helpful photo-analysis despite its different perspective. As can be seen below, by placing the snipped Library of Congress hearse directly behind the mystery hearse, the modified image allows us to make a far easier comparison between the images and illustrates that the two hearses and the accompanying honor guard of six soldiers marching along their near sides can be pronounced a highly possible match to one another:

526373a LincolnFuneralProcession-HearseInset

(7) MARCHING HOLLOW SQUARE OF SOLDIERS: Other photos and sketches reveal that a hollow square formation of 7th Regiment soldiers in a double line column marched along with and framed the Lincoln hearse. See below, for example, detail from a Library of Congress collection image at

1s01778u (1) larger crop

See also a Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper sketch of the procession on April 25, 1865, revealing the same, from the Library of Congress collection at

3c20338u detail

A few hollow square formation soldiers are visible at the bottom of the Library of Congress stereo view, three or four of whom can be seen with the butts of their rifles pointed upwards in a “reverse arms” position, as pointed out by “M.E. Wolf” at See detail, below:


A drawing of the arrangement of soldiers and honor guard around the funeral hearse as it appeared in the April 26, 1865 edition of the New York Tribune:

1865-04-26 NY Tribune chart2

The National Archives four lens image appears to show a double column of soldiers on the far side of Broadway flanking and trailing behind the hearse (note the pairs of soldiers’ trouser bottoms and boots visible within darkened detail on the upper eastern side of Broadway):


There is evidence that a similar column of soldiers flanked the hearse on the western (nearer) side of Broadway too. Their upper torsos were largely obliterated by their movement during the exposure, as occurred with respect to the soldiers on the east side of the street, leaving only exceedingly faint and blurred “ghost” traces of their presence overlaying the cobblestones. Compare the soldiers’ optical impact upon the cobblestones on the west side of Broadway with the clearly defined joints visible within the cobblestones situated in the middle of the street. Finally, the group of soldiers immediately trailing the hearse and the four or five men trailing behind at a close distance in the cropped detail from Library of Congress image, above, also seem to be trailing the mystery hearse in the National Archives  images at a similar distance.

(8) THE DOUBTERS: The blurred hearse, horses, and soldiers do not allow for an easy identification of the hearse as Lincoln’s funeral cortege.  Skeptics are able to point to the absence of specific details (including the previously mentioned miniature version of the Temple of Liberty) as evidence that this is not Lincoln’s hearse. The aforementioned poster “mmoretti” maintains that the shadows seen in the Library of Congress stereo view taken on the same day across from 688 Broadway about 6 blocks to the south of Brady’s gallery sometime shortly before the hearse’s arrival at Grace Church — were pointing roughly northward, contrary to the shadows seen in the National Archives’ views. However, if that stereo view was taken at 688 Broadway, the angle of the shadows cast actually pointed eastward (because of the northeast by southwest orientation of Broadway at that point), mirroring the shadowing from the buildings seen in the National Archives images.

One gentlemen who is investigating the possibility that the hearse was used in a Union Day celebration or to mark the death of another famous person is Robert McNamara @history1800s. See his article on this topic at: Mr. McNamara raises excellent questions such as “why is there no mourning crepe hanging on Grace Church?” He notes that the New York Tribune reported that “Trinity Church — the other fashionable Episcopal church in the city — was draped in black and also had a sign expressing grief in front.” No ready explanation comes to mind other than the congregation at Grace Church may have elected not to adorn the facade facing Broadway with anything on the 25th.  Likewise, other New York churches and synagogues might have been a mixed bag, with some placing visible expressions of mourning on their buildings and others not. But it is certainly possible that Grace Church was adorned with black crepe or similar physical expressions of grief on much higher levels of its Broadway facade — such as its top bell tower — which were outside the framed space captured by the National Archives images. Perhaps, too, the dark object marked within detail below represented some dark mourning cloth draped from the church:


Someone whom I am quite sure was not laid out to rest in that casket is Ulysses S. Grant. By the time of Grant’s funeral procession in New York City on August 8, 1885, much faster speed dry-plate photography was in vogue,  telegraph, telephone and electrical poles and lines littered the major streets of New York City, the leaves on trees would have been at their collective peaks, and the crowd would not have been dressed as they appear in the National Archives images. Nevertheless, in expressing his skepticism that the images show Lincoln’s funeral procession, Mr. Natanson of the National Archives is not alone as there are a number of researchers investigating whether they can show that the National Archives images represent the funeral procession of someone other than Abraham Lincoln.

Stay tuned for future updates.


———–> March 25, 2014 update by Craig Heberton:

Since the last update, some insightful commentary particularly relating to the miniature Temple of Liberty crowning the top of Lincoln’s catafalque has been received from two gentlemen. The first, Mr. John Woodman, has written an excellent piece about his own analysis of the images at: I recommend that anyone with an interest in this subject matter take a look at John’s work, especially his side-by-side comparison of the hearses marked with numbered specific details shared by each. He also raises the point that if you, likewise, conclude that the hearses are a match, then another point merits consideration. The Lincoln funeral hearse designed by Charles Mettam, an architect, and built by Peter Releyea, an undertaker, was unique as it was commissioned for this specific event and only used on April 24-25, 1865 and for several re-enactments staged in conjunction with Fourth of July celebrations in New York before its ultimate retirement. As Mr. Woodman points out, it can be easily concluded that the scene depicted in the National Archives images was not taken on July 4 of any year in which wet-plate photography was still in vogue. Noting that the Lincoln funeral car used in Philadelphia, for example, did not resemble the Mettam/Releyea funeral car, Mr. Woodman concludes it is highly unlikely that any other hearses were trotted out in New York City during the age of collodion wet-plate photography which would have precisely mimicked this one.  Relative to the Temple of Liberty ornament, Mr. Woodman writes: “A white blur is visible corresponding to the top ornament. This is more visible at bottom than at top, although in one adjustment of the photo I was able to see it at top as well.” All of this adds up to further powerful photo-analysis supporting Mr. Paul Taylor’s conclusion that the images depict Lincoln’s hearse.

Speaking of Mr. Paul Taylor, he also has graciously posted a comment at this blog. His comment addresses the oh-so-hard-to-see miniature Temple of Liberty. Mr. Taylor writes —  “that was the toughest thing for me to find. To get a brand new perspective, I did a top/down (just using one side of the quad) instead of the usual left/right (sideways) red/cyan anaglyph and rotated it 90 degrees so I didn’t have to twist my neck to orient it the same direction as my red/cyan glasses and saw it. After that I saw it in every view – I circled it on my flickr posting.”  With that helpful comment in mind, I looked at a red/cyan anaglyph created from the National Archives images which was shared with me by a noted Civil War photo-historian colleague. I was able to make out five or six images of the miniature Temple of Liberty within the shadows. The multiple images are the result of  the hearse’s movement throughout the exposure. As Mr. Woodman notes, seeing the base of the Temple was easier than seeing the top portion. But after acclimating my eyes to the 3-D effect created by the blue/cyan glasses, both the top and bottom portions of the miniature Temple became visible. Thank you Mr. Woodman and especially Mr. Taylor!

The final comment I’ll offer relates to Mr. Woodman’s estimate of a 10 second exposure time. Although I agree that the white wavy lines created by reflective items on individual members of the honor guard — and even the end-to-end spacing of the multiple images of the Temple of Liberty — are good markers of how far objects moved during the exposure, I don’t believe that the exposure time was as much as ten seconds. Given the amount of bright sunlight and the fact that the Brady cameramen probably would have used both their “fastest speed” batch of collodion on the glass plate and done everything they could in setting up the shot to minimize the overall exposure time, I’d guess that the overall exposure was no more than five, six, or even seven seconds. If so, the procession might have been shown speeding up a bit after first slowing at Tenth Street due to the narrowing of Broadway noted by Mr. Woodman. Because we don’t know exactly how fast the procession was moving during the exposure, reliance upon the estimated speed of the hearse pulled by sixteen horses and the surrounding foot soldiers can only offer us a range of estimated exposure times.


———–> March 26, 2014 update by Craig Heberton:

Searching for National Archives digital photographs using NARA’s Online Public Access (OPA) can be very frustrating and does not always yield results in the same manner as the wonderful Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Only yesterday did I finally discover the location of the National Archives’ full-size copy of the first of the two four-lens images showing Grace Church. I needed a fellow researcher to direct me to where it was hiding. With that four-lens image loaded on my hard-drive, I was then able to come to the conclusion that the large contingent of uniformed men whom I previously assumed were police officers are probably all soldiers. Noticing new details, I was struck by a great contrast in the behavior of the crowd in the two four-lens images. In the image showing Lincoln’s hearse, I cannot find a single person looking up towards the position of the Brady cameramen. But in the first image, I count at least 57 spectators and soldiers looking up at and/or posing for Brady’s camera (see marked image below) — behavior which stands in marked contrast to the intense level of attention later directed towards Lincoln’s hearse and the rest of the procession of soldiers and dignitaries trailing immediately behind it.

1st view detail3

That there were so many soldiers situated in advance at just one street corner is additional proof that the individual in the casket carried in the later-arriving hearse wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill dignitary.

———–> March 27, 2014 update by Craig Heberton:

The April 2014 edition of Battlefield Photographer (The Newsletter of the Center for Civil War Photography) just arrived! At pp. 16-18, it features an article by Bob Zeller about Paul Taylor’s discovery. “A Major Brady-Lincoln Photo Discovery” explores the story behind Mr. Taylor’s detective work in even greater depth and more fully lays out the reactions of members of the National Archives. Not to be missed!

How does one obtain a copy of the article? All that is needed is to submit an online application for membership with the Center for Civil War Photography (CCWP) and the magazine — which also contains several other fascinating articles relating to Mathew B. Brady — can be yours along with all of the other goodies that go along with being a paid member. See: Also, Paul Taylor has posted a number of marked or enhanced images of the April 25, 1865 New York City hearse photos at his flickr page which better reveal his analysis at:  Be sure to check them out and don’t miss the other 3D images he has created as anaglyphs, including from the surface of Mars, planetary images of Saturn and its moons, Teddy Roosevelt, and various Civil War photographs. Just don’t forget your red/blue 3D glasses before you visit his flickr page. If you don’t own any cyan/blue glasses, you needn’t worry, because you can receive a pair from the CCWP after becoming a member.

————> October 15, 2014 update by Craig Heberton

Paul Taylor has let me know that the National Archives has notated his discovery as follows:

  • Although the official caption received by NARA from the Army Signal Corps, and appearing as well in the 1897 War Department Library Catalogue, is generic, an investigation carried out by researcher Paul Taylor in early 2014 pointed out evidence suggesting that the event being observed by the crowd in this photograph, as well as in the related 111-B-2172 (NARA Identifier 526367), is the Lincoln funeral procession in New York City, on April 25, 1865. Examining digital reproductions of both images, and drawing on various external sources, Taylor built his case for such rare photographic subject-matter around the following: the match between the church in both images and known views of New York City’s Grace Church at Broadway and 10th Street; contemporary newspaper accounts of the procession route, clearly taking it past Grace Church; biographical sources placing Mathew Brady’s New York photographic studio across the street from Grace; the notable size, and apparent solemnity, of the crowd in these images; the springtime tree blossoms evident in these images; and significant points of correspondence when comparing the size, shape, and discernible features of the large blurred object seen at the left in 111-B-2178, with characteristics in a known photograph of the specially designed Lincoln hearse, or catafalque, used in the New York City procession. Taylor’s findings, which he reported to NARA, received widespread media publicity, and were subsequently endorsed by Center for Civil War Photography President Bob Zeller, Lincoln funeral scholar Richard Sloan, and others, including another researcher, John Woodman, who reported results of his own independent analysis to NARA. A full account of the Taylor research can be found in the April 2014 issue of the Center for Civil War Photography Newsletter, Battlefield Photographer.

Official Army Signal Corps captions and 1897 War Department catalogue entries often are overly generic and can be replete with errors. Even Civil War photographer’s or publishers’ captions & catalogue entries are prone to both minor and major mistakes and omissions. Thus, the careful study of what can be seen in a Civil War era image often is far more reliable on the topic of “who, what, when, and where.” Congratulations especially to Paul Taylor and John Woodman for the deserved recognition they have received.

Paul Taylor also has pointed me to a markup he created based upon the work of our fellow CCWP member, Steve Wolf, in April 2014. That markup shows many soldiers standing on Broadway Ave. in front of Mathew Brady’s gallery wearing mourning bands. Just another piece of evidence supporting the overwhelming conclusion of what the view depicts!

14977153225_0f82431a18_o Continue reading

Chewing on “A. Berger”

22 Feb

(Part I)

  • Whose studio photographs of President Abraham Lincoln have graced both the U.S. penny and the $5 bill?
  • Who took more known photographs of Lincoln other than a former colleague?
  • Who photographed Lincoln to obtain studies used for a painting that hangs in the U.S. Congress?
  • Who photographed Lincoln in the White House where he allegedly fell prey to a prank pulled by Lincoln’s son Tad?
  • Who was in Gettysburg on two separate occasions in 1863 taking photographs with David Woodbury?

It is fair to say that Americans who hold themselves out even as average students of American history are sure to recognize the name “Mathew Brady” as well as one or more iconic photographs produced under his nameplate. For many, “Brady” is the only recognizable name within the genre of mid-to-late 19th century photography. So if you answered “Brady” in response to the five bulleted questions above, count yourself among those with a failing grade and chalk up your misguided response to the fact that the vast majority of real “Brady” Civil War-era photographs, although a product of Mathew Brady’s creative genius and visionary thinking, were taken and developed by men who worked for him. As noted by a journalist in 1851, a full decade before the outbreak of the American Civil War, the New York City daguerrean artist:

“M.B. Brady, of 205 and 207 Broadway, corner of Fulton, has, however, after all, the largest and most fashionable establishment in the city. His enterprise is proverbial, and his gallery of the members of Congress, noted military, naval, and civil officers, perhaps cannot be equaled. Brady is not an operator himself, a failing eyesight precluding the possibility of his using the camera with any certainty, but he is an excellent artist, nevertheless — understands his business so perfectly, and gathers around him the first talent to be found.”[1]

Roy Meredith, the author of the book Mr. Lincoln’s Camera Man, Mathew B. Brady (1946), asserts that although Mathew Brady left “the routine work of the gallery to his operators” throughout the Civil War and for several years thereafter, his prestige demanded that he personally handle “the most prominent of his sitters, and any celebrity who wanted a ‘Brady Photograph,’ naturally expected to be photographed by him and not by one of his operators.”[2] Providing personal attention to his most prestigious sitters in either his New York or Washington studios might have been a frequent Brady rule, but it was not without exceptions — even when President Lincoln walked through his studio door for a sitting. That is why one of the men of “first talent” who toiled behind the camera for Brady — ANTHONY BERGER —  is the correct answer to all five of the questions posed above. Yet, virtually nothing biographical has been published about Mr. Berger. He is for all intents and purposes a veritable historical man of mystery. He isn’t even listed as a notable person at a Wikipedia site dedicated to his surname.  James D. Horan, in Mathew Brady: A Historian with a Camera (1953), writes that in 1858:

“The eyesight of the prince of photographers was fading worse than ever. The long nights in the darkroom were extracting their toll. The lenses of his spectacles were now blue and even thicker. [Mathew B.] Brady could still be found behind the camera, but on rare occasions. He was still attracting the great men of America and the world to his busy galleries in New York … but other men were now doing most of the actual photography work. One was an Englishman named A. Berger — or Burger.”

Mr. Horan speculates that Anthony Berger was from England because the name “A. Berger” appears in London photography stories reprinted in the American publication Humphrey’s Journal. Noting that one piece[3] mentions that “A. Berger” was “on his way to New York,” Mr. Horan extrapolates that he probably is the same fellow who eventually ended up in Brady’s New York studio. Efforts, thus far, to locate “A. Berger” within Humphrey’s Journal have proven unsuccessful. Nevertheless, while digging for those references it came to light that several authors of letters and articles published or republished in that journal maintained their anonymity under the cloak of fictitious names such as “A. Subscriber,” “A. Stranger,” “A. Victim,” “A. Fault-Finder,” etc., suggesting that “A. Berger” could have been “A. Pseudonym.” Because Anthony Berger eventually worked for Mathew Brady and New York City is where Brady originally based his operations, the island of Manhattan is the most logical place to begin any search for Anthony Berger in America. The first references in a New York City Directory to a promising candidate for Anthony Berger appear on page 297 of  Wilson’s Business Directory for New York City, published in 1855, under an occupational listing for “Painters, Landscape:”

“Berger, Anton, 251 Bowery”

and in the 1856 Trow’s New York City Directory, published in 1855 for the period of May 1855 to May 1856:

“Berger, Anton, artist[4], 359 Broadway, h 251 Bowery”[5]

Armed with the knowledge that Mathew Brady’s establishment was then listed at 205 and 359 Broadway Avenue, the Trow’s New York City Directory entry establishes that Anthony Berger (aka “Anton Berger”) was working for Mathew Brady in New York by sometime in 1855.  The 359 Broadway location, described as “the showplace of the city’s [photographic] galleries,”[6] opened in 1853 and covered several floors atop Thompson’s saloon: “gazing down at the luxurious rooms from the frames of gold and rosewood are the kings, statesmen, emperors, and American leaders, living and dead … [The rooms have] the very best equipment. There is nothing in Brady’s apparatus of second quality … [it is] a prince of a gallery.”[7] By comparing his first five appearances in Trow’s New York City Directory with the last four, we discover that Anthony Berger’s given name was “Anton” which, with the passage of five years, morphed into the less Germanic sounding “Anthony”:

1855-1856: Berger, Anton, artist, 359 Broadway, h 251 Bowery

1856-1857: Berger, Anton, artist, 359 Broadway, h 251 Bowery

1857-1858: Berger, Andon [presumably a typo], painter, h 155 Forsyth

1858-1859: Berger, Anton, artist, h 55 W. 18th

1859-1860: Berger, Anton, artist, h 55 W. 18th

1860-1861: Berger, Anthony, artist, B’way c Tenth [8], h 55 W. 18th

1861-1862: Berger, Anthony, artist, h 55 W. 18th

1862-1863: Berger, Anthony, artist, 806 B’way, h 55 W. 18th [9]

1863-1864: Berger, Anthony, artist, h 55 W. 18th

Miss Josephine Cobb, former director of the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives, notes that “ANTON BERGER” was one of the artists employed by Brady to finish studio camera portraits “in oil [paint] on canvas or paper” which were “beautifully framed in gold” and sold for $750 a piece to wealthy clients. Essentially, they were oil paintings created by projecting the photographic image from a large glass plate negative onto paper or canvas, thereupon outlining the person’s face and any distinguishable features, and then finishing the imperial piece with oil paint.  Other artists such as George Story and Henry Ulke, like Berger, performed the same services early in their professional photography careers. See Congressional Record – Appendix, March 11, 1965. Consequently, one of the skill sets either learned or further refined by Anton/Anthony Berger during his years of service with Brady included portrait oil painting, explaining his occupational listing as a “painter” in the 1857-1858 Trow’s New York City Directory. The beginning of Berger’s tenure with Brady coincided with Brady’s migration away from daguerreotypes to wet-plate collodion photography, the speed of which surely accelerated upon the arrival of Alexander Gardner at Brady’s New York studio in 1856.


The absence of anyone appearing in the New York City directories predating 1855-1856 with both the correct name and occupation of “artist,” “photographer,” “daguerreotypist,” “painter,” or a similar occupation, is evidence that Anthony Berger was not working or perhaps even living in New York City prior to 1855. This draws some support from a May 20, 1861 naturalization certificate issued by a New York Court of Common Pleas for “Anthony Berger” who then resided at 55. W. 18th Street, New York City, matching his home address in that year’s city directory. This naturalization record reveals that Anthony Berger the “artist” was from Germany — answering at least one question about his origins. The naturalization laws then in effect required a minimum of five years continuous residence in the United States (also, within that time period, two years had to pass between one’s initial declaration and later filing of a petition for citizenship) before citizenship could be attained. It was not unusual even for diligent aliens who immediately declared and petitioned for citizenship to experience delays in the processing of their petitions before finally being granted their citizenship after the five year period expired. A further search of the records also turned up Anthony Berger’s filing of a Declaration of Intention to Become a Citizen with the N.Y. Court of Common Pleas on December 13, 1854. In that document he renounced “all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the Free City of Frankfurt.” So if the former Frankfurt, Germany resident moved as swiftly as possible to gain citizenship from his local New York County Court of Common Pleas, he arrived in America sometime in 1854. Anton/Anthony Berger was among the approximately one million Germans who left their homeland for America between 1850 and 1860 because of economic. political, regulatory, and military hardships. To gain an insight into the catalyst behind this German migration, I highly recommend reading The Last of the Blacksmiths (2014) by Claire Gebben. At least for the time being, what specifically drove Anthony Berger to come to America remains a time shrouded mystery. (To be continued) By Craig Heberton IV, published February 21, 2014

(Part II)

Anthony Berger’s naturalization record contains the necessary clues to determine when and where he was born as well as other significant biographical information.  On June 12, 1897, an “Anthony Berger” was issued a United States Passport. Within his application, Mr. Berger indicated that he was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on the 20th of May 1861 and listed his occupation as “artist.” That information clinches any debate, establishing him as the correct Anthony Berger. See The National Archives, Passport Applications, 1795 – 1905, Roll 0490, Volume 851, Year 1897, in Fold3 (2008). Berger’s signature on his Oath of Allegiance submitted with his passport application follows: Passport application_signatureThis passport application reveals that Anthony Berger was born on February 9 (or 18), 1832 at “the free city of Frankfort on the Main,” Germany (aka Frankfurt am Main in the state of Hesse, now known simply as Frankfurt); he emigrated to the United States on board a ship from London on about February 8, 1854; his wife — Albertine — was born at Bockenheim, Germany (now a city district west of central Frankfurt) on March 26, 1831; he lived continuously for 43 years in the United States; as of 1897 he lived in New York City; and he intended to return with his wife to the United States “after a visit to Europe.” He was described as 65 years of age, a little under 5 feet 8 inches tall, gray eyed, possessed of a “full-round” nose and a “small pointed” chin,  with a healthy complexion “inclined to be florid,”  and “light brown” hair. Knowing that Anthony Berger arrived in America from London either a day before or a few days following his 22nd birthday — two different birth dates appear on different pages of his application papers — revives the possibility that he spent time in England, as suggested by Mr. Horan, where he might have been exposed to the photographic arts. But for now his life in Europe and possible training there as an oil painter, sketcher, water colorist, and/or photographer before coming to the U.S., is nothing more than a blank canvas. The only clue found to date — his listing as a landscape painter in the 1855 Wilson’s Business Directory for New York City — strongly suggests that he was formally trained in landscape oil painting or water coloring somewhere in Europe prior to his arrival in New York City.

Can any more information about Anthony Berger be teased out of the 1855 New York State and 1860 Federal census returns? The relative ease by which Anthony Berger is identified in the annual Trow’s New York City directories, however, does not carry over in the quest to locate him in those two census returns. The 1855 New York Census lists a 23 year-old “Mr. Burger” living in the 10th Ward of Brooklyn with a wife (identified only as “Mrs. Burger”) and a one year-old boy named David. Mr. Burger’s given place of birth is Germany and occupation is “painter.” This Mr. Burger, whose estimated birth year is 1832, purportedly had resided in Brooklyn for five years and was still an alien. Mrs. Burger, also 23 years-old, had been a resident for 3 years.  Although his age, alien status, and occupation, as well as his wife’s age, are evidence that he is Anthony Berger the artist, other evidence suggests to the contrary. For example, Anthony Berger the artist listed his home address as 251 Bowery, New York City in the 1855-1856 and 1856-1857 New York City Directories. Nevertheless, it is conceivable that after the taking of the state census in July of 1855, “Mr. Burger the painter,” having previously secured employment with Mathew Brady, moved his residence from Brooklyn to 251 Bowery, New York City in order to be closer to his workplace. This could have occurred some time before the Trow’s directory canvassers showed up at his new doorstep. By listing them merely as Mr. & Mrs. Burger, the census taker betrayed that the information he received likely was communicated to him by someone else on behalf of the Burgers possibly because one or both of the couple’s English speaking skills were poor. If the indicated time that Mr. & Mrs. Burger lived in Brooklyn was misunderstood, improperly translated, or erroneously given, Anthony Berger the artist may have lived first in Brooklyn for as much as a year and a half and fathered a son there.

The index for the 1860 Federal Census reveals only one Anthony (or Anton) Berger (or Burger) in the greater New York City area — an “Anthony Berger” in the 9th Ward of New York City. He is described as a 32 year-old German-born locksmith living with his wife Dora, aged 31, and son Louis, aged 5. This is not the correct Anthony Berger, as he also is listed  in the 1855 New York State Census as residing in the 9th Ward of New York City and described as a “machinist” born in Germany in about 1826  who had lived in the city for 7 years with his wife Doretha — evidence that he emigrated to America no later than 1848.  In the 1855-1856 Trow’s New York City Directory he is identified as a “smith” living at 237 Bleecker St. (which was then within the 9th Ward of NYC); in numerous subsequent city directories he is listed as a “locksmith.”  A faulty or nonexistent index listing in the 1860 Federal Census may prevent us from ever finding the correct Anthony Berger.

The day after his naturalization as an American citizen, Anthony Berger applied for a U.S. Passport on May 21, 1861. That application notes that he was born in Frankfort on February 18, 1832 and his vital statistics were 5 foot and 7 and one-half inches tall, grey eyes, full nose, small pointed chin, light brown hair, fair complexion, and a face characterized as “nothing vile looking.” Theo Murray Squires, his notary and agent, placed Mr. Berger’s papers in an envelope addressed to Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Sec. of State, and requested the return of “the same with all economical speed you will oblige.” It is not clear whether the passport was issued but it likely was denied by the State Department due to the outbreak of the Civil War during the prior month. Berger probably waited until after he was naturalized to seek a passport because citizens stood a better chance of being granted one on a rush basis and need not fear being readmitted upon their return. Squires’ cover letter which requested expedited handling, coupled with an indication in the application that Mrs. Berger would accompany her husband to Europe, suggest that the Bergers were in a hurry to return to Germany because of the outbreak of war or to address a pressing event such as a serious family illness or the death of a loved one. After working approximately 9 years in New York City for Mathew Brady, the next rite of passage in Anthony Berger’s professional career demonstrates that by 1863 he had earned Brady’s deep respect for his talents both as an artist as well as an office manager. We pick up his trail again in the 1863-1864 Boyd’s Washington [D.C.] and Georgetown Directory at “Brady’s photographic gallery, 352 Penn ave.” An advertisement in that directory identifies him as the gallery’s manager (see below): Berger manager-1864 Boyd's Directory-Wash DC-001 MB Brady at 288c

We also know that Anthony Berger traveled to Gettysburg with David Woodbury, another Brady assistant, a few days after the battle ended there on July 3, 1863. The evidence points to the conclusion that Berger and Woodbury reached Gettysburg from Washington, D.C. and Mathew Brady later joined them from New York City by July 15. Alexander Gardner sent an undated telegram sometime shortly after July 9, 1863 addressed to Timothy O’Sullivan “[at] Head Quarters, Army of the Potomac” — anticipating that O’Sullivan had caught up with Meade’s forces as they cautiously “pursued” Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg. Like Gardner, O’Sullivan was a highly skilled cameraman and a former Brady employee. Gardner’s telegram states:

I have just got back [presumably to Washington, D.C.] from Gettysburg … [David] Woodbury & [Anthony] Berger were there. If they come your length I hope you will give them every attention. tell Jim [Gibson] that McGraw is dead. I will write.” See William A. Frassanito’s seminal book Early Photography at Gettysburg (1995) at pp. 22-25.

Robert Wilson, author of Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation (2013), at p. 157, speculates that Gardner’s message reflects either his desire to maintain good relations with Berger and Woodbury, with an eye towards possibly recruiting them away from Brady, or a simple admonition to “keep an eye on the competition” should they join the Army of the Potomac to take pictures of the aftermath of what President Lincoln hoped would prove to be a decisive and war-ending Union victory — a result which didn’t happen. Although the latter inference makes the most sense, Gardner likely wanted O’Sullivan to try to achieve both objectives given the fact that Woodbury and Berger were then among Brady’s most talented men whom Gardner knew well from his many years working for Brady.

We don’t know which “Brady” photographic plates were prepared, taken, or developed by Anthony Berger in July of 1863 at Gettysburg. But it is very possible that some of the most famous Brady Gettysburg images were Berger’s creations or the product of his handiwork:

“Because Brady, unlike Gardner, did not credit each photograph with a name of a photographer, it is virtually impossible to identify his assistant cameraman … It is fairly certain, however, that none of the [Gettysburg] views was personally taken by Brady … [rendering] the famous photographer’s role at Gettysburg … essentially that of a supervisor. Of some significance is the varying presence of at least one of three men in most of the Brady views. The three consist of Brady and two men who were no doubt his assistants, one wearing a dark vest, the other a white shirt occasionally covered by a white duster. A view taken near Little Round Top [see detail below, right] shows all three men together, which indicates the presence of another companion operating the camera. Whether or not this third assistant took most or all of the photographs cannot be determined.”  William A. Frassanito, Gettysburg: A Journey in Time (1975), at p. 38.

Assuming that Mr. Frassanito is correct, two of Brady’s assistants (rather than local guides) are visible in some of his Gettysburg views — sometimes solo, sometimes together, and occasionally (one or both) with Brady. He also points out that when all three men appear together, it is revealed that a third Brady assistant took the view. Robert Wilson speculates that this third assistant accompanied Brady from New York. For some inexplicable reason, the third assistant never seems to appear in any of the views, unless he is the man pictured in detail from a photograph taken at the Bryan House in Gettysburg (discussed below). If only Berger, Woodbury, and the third assistant were with Brady in Gettysburg AND the two men pictured were, in fact, Brady photographers, then either Berger or Woodbury MUST be visible in some of those views. And if the assistant who took the photographs showing both of the other two Brady assistants was the unidentified assistant from New York, then BOTH Berger and Woodbury must be visible in those views. With this in mind, let’s explore specific details within some of Brady’s Gettysburg photographs.

The cropped images, below, are from two different but similar Brady views taken in the “Valley of Death” near the base of Little Round Top (courtesy of the Library of Congress). They appear to have been shot consecutively.

Base of Little Round Top cf

Narrower focused image detail is marked below to identify the presence of Brady and his two assistants. In both instances, Mathew Brady is the man under a blue arrow.

Journey in Time V-1b

In the likely first-in-time image on the left, above, Brady sits in a horse-drawn cart; in the latter, taken from a slightly different perspective resulting from moving the camera a distance to the right, he got out of the cart after it moved away from the camera and braced himself with his left hand extended straight out to the trunk of a tree in a contemplative pose. He was replaced in the cart by the man seen in repose on the ground in the prior exposure near where the cart was then halted. That person, whom Mr. Frassanito labels as “no doubt” a Brady assistant — wore a light-colored shirt  and a nice looking pair of high boots. He is hatless and boxed in red within detail, above, in the left marked image and beneath the red arrow in the right image. The man whom Mr. Frassanito describes as the Brady assistant “wearing a dark vest” is visible in both views under a yellow arrow in the marked detail, above.

It is not clear whether Brady wanted the assistant in the light-colored shirt to be imperceptible in the first picture (which he nearly is) or if he intended that this man would be both discernible to the viewer and interpreted as a dead soldier. If Brady’s goal was the latter, he failed miserably because that man qualifies as a “Where’s Waldo?” contestant by blending in with the rocks and fence posts flanking him. The best clue alerting us to his presence is the fact that Brady and his cart companion are seen in active poses facing towards and staring directly at “the corpse” as if they just had made the startling discovery of his dead body.

01656a detailexpandedTo better study this man’s appearance, see the zoomed detail, below:

01656a detail3 32842u detailman1Unlike Alexander Gardner, Brady posed himself in several of his sweeping Gettysburg views either to create enhanced stereoscopic visual perspective, add context or emotion to the scene, and/or simply to insert himself into the pictorial record of history he was creating. Robert Wilson notes that Brady’s appearance in scenes also served as “proof” that the image was an honest-to-goodness Brady created photo. This achieved at least two goals. First, it served to foil competitors inclined to try to profit from Brady images by photographing them and then passing off copies of slightly retouched prints as their own original work. Second, it allowed the viewer, in a sense, to be escorted to that particular place in the company of the famous “Brady of Broadway” — an effect greatly enhanced when the view was shot in stereoscopic 3-D. Perhaps that is among the reasons why more than two-thirds of Brady’s output at Gettysburg was stereo views. Stereo images visually transported viewers to famous battlefield locations described by newspaper accounts in great detail and certainly aroused reactions such as — “so THAT is how it would have looked had I walked the grounds in the company of the great war photographer Brady!”

The Brady assistant wearing the dark vest and dark hat appears in several other Gettysburg views. See below, for example, detail from two images taken at Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary (left) and John Burns’ home (right), courtesy of the Library of Congress. Support for the conclusion that he was a Brady photographer is at its strongest in the photo in which he is seated with Mathew Brady on the back steps of John Burn’s home near a portable darkroom on a tripod — presumably the darkroom to which that image’s photographic plate was rushed for development immediately after it was exposed. John Richter was the first to describe these details in 2004.

dark vest man2That man also is visible in an image seated alone at John Burns’ house (see image detail below left, courtesy of the National Archives) and with the man in the light-colored shirt and duster on Culp’s Hill in a Brady War Views stereo card captioned on the verso “Breastworks on the Left Wing, Battle of Gettysburgh, No. 2424” (in detail, below right, courtesy of John Richter). To read about a young researcher’s modern day visit to the exact spot where the Culp’s Hill stereo view was taken and to see her recreation of the Brady view, visit

compare dark vest RichterCompare the images of the man wearing the dark vest with detail (below) from a photo depicting a heavily bearded David Woodbury (left) in the field near Petersburg, VA in 1864, courtesy of the Library of Congress, and another image of Woodbury from an October 1862 photo (right). It is difficult to discern whether the dark vest man was lightly bearded or completely clean-shaven. Regardless, does his long nose suggest that he could be David Woodbury? Unfortunately, the poor quality of the detail within the Gettysburg images does not allow for a satisfactory comparison, leaving open the possibility that the dark vest man could be someone else, perhaps even Anthony Berger.

Not Gettysburg 33170u DBWoodbury 1862-10-28 New Berlin MD CCWP-detailWoodbury

Alternatively, if the dark vest man traveled from New York with Brady, he might be a different long-nosed Brady assistant — Edward T. Whitney — seen in detail from an October 1862 photo, below right, next to zoomed detail showing the dark vest man, below left:

War Views 2424 Detail_John Richter-detail 1862-10-28 New Berlin MD CCWP-detailWhitneyWhitney, however, never mentioned being in Gettysburg in July of 1863 in a short published article of his reminiscences of working with David Woodbury in the field on behalf of Brady during the Civil War. A side-by-side comparison of the E.T. Whitney image (right, below) with another from Blackburn’s Ford, near Manassas, VA in about August of 1862, probably also reveals Whitney (courtesy of the Library of Congress):


A striking feature of the 1864 photo of David Woodbury is that his white duster and shirt collar resemble the same seen on the man described by Mr. Frassanito in the Brady Gettysburg views as wearing “a white shirt occasionally covered by a white duster.” Perhaps his shirt and boots do as well. That man is visible, without a duster, at the base of Little Round Top in the two photographs discussed above. He also is seen sporting a goatee in detail from several other Gettysburg views, including one taken in front of the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse (below, left) and another on Culp’s Hill (below, right), courtesy of the Library of Congress. Surprisingly, his goatee in the image on the right appears longer than in the one on the left. Nevertheless, the boots, dark rolled cuff pants, white duster, and shirt collar indicate that he is the same man. Is he Anthony Berger, who was then 31 years old, or a 24 year-old David Woodbury?

Goateed man2

This same man probably appears sans duster within detail of a view taken at the summit of Little Round Top , below left, and laying on the ground and presumably “playing dead” at Culp’s Hill, below right, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

01638u detail 01645a detail

The positioning of his left arm and hand are used as illustrative tools in two other poignant Gettysburg photos. In the first, captioned “Scene of General Reynold’s Death” (below, left), he points as if directing Brady to the exact spot where Reynolds was struck dead. In another, he sits on a Little Round Top tree stump shading his eyes as he seemingly contemplates the acts of heroism performed there a few days earlier (below, right).  The detail below is courtesy of the Library of Congress. Reynolds fell Round Top

The manner of dress of this man is reminiscent of the get-up sported by Mathew Brady (below, courtesy of the Library of Congress) in a pose he purportedly assumed on July 22, 1861 after returning to his Washington studio following the First Battle of Bull Run. Perhaps Anthony Berger, who by July of 1863 was the supervisor of Brady’s D.C. gallery (as discussed below), intentionally emulated his boss’ flair for wearing dashing garb in the field:


Some details in the 1864 photo of David Woodbury, mentioned above, suggest that he is the man with the goatee wearing a white duster. But that evidence is based less upon physical appearance and more upon clothing similarities which may be nothing more than a coincidence. Woodbury’s dark hair color doesn’t appear to match the lighter brown color of the man with the goatee. Moreover, the face of the goateed man with the duster standing in front of the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse doesn’t look to be shaped like Woodbury’s or possessed of a similar nose, leaving open the possibility that he is Anthony Berger. Woodbury’s lengthy nose might appear on the face of the dark vested assistant, but that assistant is without the sort of significant beard seen on Woodbury in the 1862 and 1864 views, above. The image detail from the Gettysburg photos also doesn’t allow for an easy comparison between the two assistants and the description of Berger’s appearance in his 1897 passport application — a little under 5 feet 8 inches tall, gray eyed, possessed of a “full-round” nose and a “small pointed” chin, with a healthy complexion “inclined to be florid,”  and “light brown” hair.

Therefore, it is a challenge to pronounce either of the two Gettysburg assistants as Anthony Berger. The white duster man’s lighter facial complexion suggests that he spent most of his time working indoors, perhaps in Brady’s New York studio or managing the D.C. gallery. This observation suggests that Berger is more likely the white duster assistant than the dark vested one. But Berger’s complexion which was described as “florid” in his passport application, better matches the ruddy facial appearance of the dark vest assistant. Before “chewing” on any other pieces of evidence in the quest to find Anthony Berger in the Gettysburg images, I direct the reader’s attention to a print of an October 1862  photo appearing in Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War (Hack Collection No. 2) at the Chrysler Museum of Art titled “Harper’s Ferry (Mathew Brady by pole).” See$0040/1/title-asc?t:state:flow=bf7ed803-0120-4f17-b6d6-7d32749ad90c. The photo is attributed to David Woodbury and depicts a scene shot at Harper’s Ferry with Mathew Brady standing, a young boy gazing at Brady, a seated woman cradling a baby, a soldier on a railroad tie, and a dark vested man in a three-piece suit standing in profile. The latter man’s facial profile is similar to the dark vest assistant’s profile observed at Culp’s Hill. Likewise, his hat appears to be a match.  Because we know that Woodbury and Berger worked together in the field on two separate occasions in 1863, including in one instance with Brady, it is likely that they worked together on other occasions as well. So if  the dark vest assistant at Gettysburg appears with Brady in the Woodbury photo taken along the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry in October 1862, then it constitutes evidence supporting the conclusion that Anthony Berger is the dark vest assistant at Gettysburg, the light-colored duster assistant is the unknown man who accompanied Brady from New York, and Woodbury never posed in any of the Gettysburg views.

Likewise, the dark vest man may well be the man wearing the identical hat with a similar facial profile seen in a Brady plate taken at City Point, VA (circa fall of 1864) in a photo from the National Archive’s collection titled  “Hospital ambulance and corral near City Point, Va” (see detail, below). Because it is known that Brady’s assistants David Woodbury and Anthony Berger were in City Point off and on during that period of time, this may well constitute further support for the argument that the dark vest man could be Anthony Berger.


Over the course of the several days that Brady was in Gettysburg, his team recorded 36 known plates according to Bob Zeller. Brady placed himself in 9 of the views. The assistant with the dark vest appears in at least 6 of them. But the assistant with the light-colored shirt and duster (both on or off) is counted in a whopping 15 photographs. In as many as 4 of those views, it can be interpreted that the light-colored shirt assistant was posed laying on his back stretched out on the ground or leaning in a rigor-mortis induced position against an object on the ground in order to portray a dead soldier. When digitally zoomed in upon, the poses appear to the modern eye as lame attempts to mimic soldiers, let alone Confederate corpses (see three examples below, courtesy of the Library of Congress). But Brady must have envisioned that he would achieve the desired effect because the details of his “corpses” would not be readily apparent to his customers and, therefore, could not betray his staged recreations. I like to think of this in 1860’s terms as Brady exercising some “artistic license” in order to compose an emotionally compelling and potentially more commercially appealing scene. Landscape painters frequently did the same and do the same today.

dead man3

Brady also must have adjudged this man to be possessed of the necessary young Rebel soldier “look” as well as dramatic and artistic flare, because he never posed the dark vest assistant as a dead man. One of the three photos taken at the Bryan/Brian House reveals that the carcass of a dead and partially mummified horse or mule rested nearby. The stench from that dead animal must have been significant, suggesting that the assistant in the light-colored shirt who posed in two of the Bryan House views only a few yards away from the decaying animal was the lowest person in the pecking order within Brady’s group.

In only one of the Gettysburg views appears a man who is neither Mathew Brady nor dressed like either the dark vest assistant or the light-colored shirt/white duster assistant. Even though he wears a soldier’s jacket — which probably was scavenged from the battlefield — it is quite possible that he is the so-called third assistant not otherwise visible in any other Brady Gettysburg views. He can be seen posing in a single photographic view exposed at the Abraham Bryan/Brian House (which Brady and his men mistook for General Meade’s headquarters) along with the light-colored shirt assistant (detail below left, courtesy of the Library of Congress). Is he a Brady assistant dressed up to look like a soldier and, if so, is he the dark vest assistant wearing very different garb or the third assistant making a cameo appearance? He certainly may be Berger because his nose is “full [and] round,” his chin is “small [and] pointed,” and his forehead is “broad,” matching the description of Berger’s facial characteristics in his passport applications. Compare his face to the face of a man within detail of a photograph taken at City Point, VA which is attributed to Mathew Brady (courtesy of the National Archives), below right. They could well be the same man:

3d assistant   3d assistant B-657

Despite the difficulty in conclusively identifying Anthony Berger in the “Brady” photographs taken at Gettysburg or pinpointing which images he created, it is clear that he had a substantial overall impact on Brady’s post-battle portfolio at Gettysburg. For starters, Bob Zeller notes that: “Before Brady arrived, Woodbury and Berger had plenty of time to scout … where fighting occurred in Gettysburg, and they were probably the ones who located and identified the area of fighting on the first day of the battle [as well as] Culp’s Hill, a prime location for photography. [Alexander] Gardner had missed both areas.” In addition to their work behind the camera, Berger & Woodbury would have contributed to the Gettysburg photographic results by preparing and developing glass plates. Development and “fixing” of the plates required a skilled hand and substantial darkroom experience in order to create a properly exposed image sporting both a depth of contrast and uniform clarity in scenes rich with many details.

If Anthony Berger is neither of the two apparent assistants in the Brady Gettysburg views, then it increases the likelihood that he stood behind the camera and exposed many of Brady’s iconic Gettysburg images. If, for example, he appears in only 6 of them as the dark vest assistant, it is likely that he exposed at least a few of the views. By waiting until the corpses and dead animals had been buried or removed from the battlefield, Brady, Berger and Woodbury missed the opportunity to photograph the obscene horrors of Gettysburg captured by Alexander Gardner’s team a few days earlier. Yet, while waiting for Brady, “Woodbury and Berger evidently made good use of their days in Gettysburg … familiarizing themselves with the town, the battlefield, and the reports of the battle … [gathering] local knowledge,” resulting in photographs adjudged by Robert Wilson to be “far superior to Gardner’s.” Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation, at 159. In the words of Bob Zeller, “Brady’s photographs exude their own style — not gritty and graphic, but expansive and contemplative. Many were sizable landscapes or panoramas with a strategically placed observer or two, sometimes Brady himself, to encourage the viewer of the photograph to form a personal vision of what the battle must have been like.” Whereas Gardner’s photographers were “the quintessential news reporters” who captured the horrors of the battlefield, [Brady, sporting the eye of a] portrait and landscape artist, produced with his assistants [scenes such as] ‘Three Rebel Prisoners'” (detail below, courtesy of the Library of Congress). Bob Zeller, The Blue and Gray in Black and White (2005), at p. 104.

Anthony Berger’s background as a landscape painter, first documented in a New York City directory in 1855, undoubtedly played a large role in Brady’s achievement in capturing expansive scenes of the Gettysburg battlefield, further bringing to life the exhaustively read newspaper accounts of the fighting at locations such as Culp’s Hill, Little Round Top, and even the very spot on Seminary Ridge where Major General John F. Reynolds [purportedly] had fallen. At the very least, Anthony Berger deserves substantial credit for Brady’s cumulative photographic output at Gettysburg.

01450a detail

The Enrollment Act, which went into effect on March 3, 1863, required nearly every able-bodied and mentally fit male citizen and immigrant seeking to be naturalized between the ages of 20 and 45 to enroll for possible military service. When Provost Marshal General James B. Fry and his assistants determined quotas for various draft districts in the respective states, lotteries were held to pick the names of the men to be conscripted for service. Thanks to this law, it can be ascertained that by the first of July in 1863, Anthony Berger may have been acting as Brady’s gallery manager in Washington in that he appears on a July 1, 1863 Consolidated List of Class I men subject to perform military service within the 3rd Sub-District of the District of Columbia :

Resided Name Age Profession Marital Birthplace
359 S St. Burger, Anthony 33 Artist Married Germany

He also appears in a July 25, 1863 Consolidated List for the 4th Sub-District of Washington City, under his business address, which identifies him as the Superintendent of Brady’s Gallery at 352 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Resided Name Age Profession Marital Birthplace
352 Pa. Ave Berger, Anthony 33 Supt. Brady’s Gallery Married Germany

David B. Woodbury’s November 23, 1863 letter to his sister — described in  Craig Heberton’s “The Brady Bunch: The Case of the Missing Gettysburg Photos” — affirmatively states that Anthony Berger was managing Brady’s D.C. studio at that time.  Because Anthony Berger is not listed either in the 1860 or 1862 Boyd’s Washington and Georgetown Directories but appears in the 1863-1864 Trow’s New York City Directory, it can be concluded that he neither was the gallery manager for nor was situated at Brady’s Washington, D.C. gallery any earlier than 1863. This nearly dovetails with Alexander Gardner’s tenure as the gallery manager of Brady’s D.C. studio which lasted either until Gardner traveled away from the studio for an extended period of time as a member of the U.S. Topographical Service for the Union Army in 1862 or whenever he formally left Brady’s employment which, according to D. Mark Katz, occurred sometime late in 1862 or early in 1863. For some unknown period of time after Gardner’s departure, James F. Gibson apparently managed Brady’s D.C. gallery until he was replaced by Berger. According to Don Nardo, “shortly after Gardner left, Gibson left Brady as well and went to work for Gardner.” Mathew Brady: The Camera is the Eye of History (2009), at p. 82.

What challenges might Anthony Berger have faced serving as the manager of Mathew Brady’s Photographic Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.? According to Josephine Cobb:

“Feeling some anxiety about the failure of the Washington Gallery to show a profit, Brady sent one of his best New York operators to look into the mode of operation of James F. Gibson. The new man was Anthony Berger, an excellent photographer. Gibson resented the interference and complained bitterly that there was no demand for war views and card photographs; he found it difficult to obtain apprentice photographers to replace those who had gone elsewhere …”

In addition to grappling with what James F. Gibson claimed to be slackening demand for Brady’s War Views stereocards and employee recruitment and retention issues, the Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft,  1861-1865 offers some additional insights. Taft worked in the Patent Office in Washington City during much of the Civil War and recorded in his diary, now at the Library of Congress, the following entry excerpt for Tuesday, April 1, 1862:

“A fine pleasant day. Went down to the Ave in the morning, got Draft of $20, sent to Mrs Barnes Phila. Called at McClees Photograph Rooms. He told me that he had mounted 2300 pictures the day before. The call for Photographs by Army officers has been unprecedented the past six months.” (See The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft,  1861-1865. Volume 1, January 1, 1861-April 11, 1862, (

McClees was one of Brady’s main competitors in Washington, D.C.  Taft’s discussion with Mr. McClees illustrates the huge volume of work performed by the top Washington photographic studios at least early in the war as a result of the influx of soldiers in, and other visitors to, the city. Brady, likewise, experienced significant customer traffic in his New York locations:

“Lights burned late in Brady’s gallery as his operators prepared thousands of the cardboard pictures. Sometimes, when a new ‘issue’ was announced, crowds would flock to Fulton Street, push their way up the stairs to the gallery and clean out Brady’s stock within a matter of hours. At one time, the Anthony’s [who printed Brady’s war photographs] later recalled that they were printing as many as 3,600 cards a day.” (Horan, Mathew Brady: A Historian with a Camera, at p. 22).

Mr. Taft also visited Brady’s Washington City studio, writing on March 6, 1863 that: “… I went down on to the Ave, droped [sic] into Bradys Photograph Gallery which is one of the Institutions of Washington.  Genl Sumner of the Army was there and I was introduced to him by my friend the Artist Mulvaney and had some conversation with him.” (See Volume 2 of Taft’s Diary). On March 10, 1864, Taft wrote of taking his daughter Julia to “Bradys ” last week where she sat for her picture which we shall soon have. The Artist who is to touch them up with his pencil came to see her last evening.” ( by Craig Heberton IV, published March 8, 2014  (To be continued).

(Part II, supplemental update)

American Art Annual 1898 (1899), edited by Florence N. Levy, contains a compiled list of over 3,000 American artists. Within a directory of “Painters” in that book, at p. 426, appears a listing for “BERGER, ANTHONY.” It reveals that Anthony Berger had been a “pupil [at the] Staedelehe Institute” in Frankfurt, Germany (several other sources confirm the same).  I assume that the “Staedelehe Institute” reference is an old description or slightly perverted spelling of the Staedelsches Kunstinstitut or the Städelschule/ Staedelschule, an international institute of fine arts in Frankfurt which was created from a foundation established in 1815 by Frankfurt banker and spice merchant Johann Friedrich Städel.  Mr. Städel collected hundreds of paintings, etchings, and drawings during his lifetime and desired to create both a museum for his collection and a school (schule) for artists. After Städel’s death, legal proceedings tied up the settlement of his estate for many years until 1829. Today the school is considered one of the finest art academies in Europe and the associated museum gallery is rated as one of Europe’s best. Unfortunately the archival records relating to the time period when Anthony Berger would have been a pupil there were destroyed during World War II. This school must have been where Anthony Berger’ artistic talents first were cultivated.

The year before he changed his first name to “Anthony” to coincide with his naturalization in 1861, Anton Berger exhibited one of his paintings which he called “The Rendezvous” at the National Academy of Design (now known as the National Academy). Mary Bartlett Cowdrey (comp.), National Academy of Design Exhibition Record, 1826-1860, Volume I (1943), at p. 32. The exhibition probably was shown in a building then occupied by the Academy at Broadway and Leonard Street or 663 Broadway, New York City. Thus far, efforts to track down that painting have proven unsuccessful.

by Craig Heberton, published April 30, 2014 (To be continued).


(Part III – Hanover Junction, PA)
Mathew B. Brady, Anthony Berger, David B. Woodbury, and at least one additional Brady assistant joined together in Gettysburg days after the cessation of hostilities in July of 1863. For perhaps a full week they focused their attention upon photographing the suddenly famous terrain. The public’s appetite to see what the field of battle looked like was whetted. Gettysburg’s fame had been earned as soon as the readers of the northern press digested lengthy and spell-binding accounts of the three days of fighting which culminated in a stunning defeat for Lee’s Army of Virginia. During their several days in Gettysburg, Brady’s men managed to expose 36 known photographic plates, mainly in stereoscopic format — an average of only about 6 a day. Likely a few months later in a tiny hamlet about 25 miles east of Gettysburg, some photographers took 6 outdoor scenes late in the afternoon of a single day, nearly all of which were shot in stereo. Although the location photographed was described by some unknown scribe as a “point of note during the invasion of Lee in 1863″ (see below), those six hastily composed photos depict neither a battlefield, the home or birthplace of a famous person, the site of any important or infamous event, nor a place known to most Americans either then or now. Any evidence of damage wrought by Confederate cavalrymen was long gone by the time those photos were taken. Questions about why so many of those images were exposed, by whom they were taken, and what they depict have lingered and been debated for decades. Nearly a century after their creation, even the state in which the photographs were recorded remained a complete mystery to most of the National Archives curators.
William A. Frassanito writes in Early Photography at Gettysburg (1995), at p. 416, that Josephine Cobb, the former Director of the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives, shared with him several of her notes about her review of the contents of a private collection of papers written by David B. Woodbury covering some of the time period Woodbury worked for Mathew Brady. According to Mr. Frassanito, Cobb’s “notes indicate that Woodbury’s papers for July 1863 are missing, and made no specific reference to Woodbury having attended the November 1863 dedication ceremonies.” Two years later, Mr. Frassanito reiterated that “neither Brady, nor any cameramen affiliated with Brady’s firm, are known to have covered the November 1863 dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg.”[1] Because the Woodbury papers remain in private hands and unavailable for research, photo-historians reached a dead end in their quest to determine if Brady or any of his assistants witnessed and attempted to photograph Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
But as revealed in “The Brady Bunch: The Case of the Missing Gettysburg Photos,” it is now known that within the David B. Woodbury private collection there is a letter from Woodbury which he penned from Washington, D.C. to his sister Eliza, dated November 23, 1863, which states in part: “I went to Gettysburg on the 19th with Mr. Burger [sic] the superintendent of the Gallery here. We made some pictures of the crowd and Procession … We found no trouble in getting both food and lodging.” Although the owner of that letter has confirmed to me that it does not disclose much more detail about what Messrs. Woodbury and Berger did in Gettysburg, this correspondence establishes that Brady sent the same two ace photographers who were with him in Gettysburg in July of 1863 back to that town about 4 1/2 months later to cover the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and Lincoln’s presence there. No one, as of yet, has definitively identified any November 19, 1863 photos taken by Berger and Woodbury in Gettysburg, but those men may well have taken photographs en route to or from the Gettysburg cemetery dedication event.
Mr. Frassanito has described a series of at least six negatives taken at Hanover Junction, PA, located about 25 miles east of Gettysburg, which are credited in “the earliest surviving identifications” to “Brady & Co.” See examples of two of the jackets from the National Archives, below:
Jacket 33496v Fold3 shows jacket  jacket B-83
The oldest surviving captions from this particular series misidentified them as views of Hanover Junction, Virginia from 1864 or 1865. It is now well-established that they depict Hanover Junction, PA rather than VA. This conclusion is readily apparent when the images are compared to the surviving railroad depot in Hanover Junction, PA and what is left there of the extant tracks and rail beds. See, e.g., an article and corresponding “then and now photos” published in the Gettysburg Daily on December 3, 2008 at Also, railcars of the North Central Railway (marked “NCRW”), which passed through Hanover Junction, PA, can be seen sitting at rest on an adjacent railroad siding in some of the photos.  See “Crowds Await Transfer to Gettysburg for Dedication of the National Cemetery in Nov. 1863” (March 7, 2012), at, by Scott L. Mingus, Sr.
According to an article in the May 2, 1953 Gettysburg Compiler, entitled “More Brady Pix Discovered,” two grand nieces of Mathew Brady “discovered  in Brady’s old studio” a book published two years before Brady’s death containing three of the Hanover Junction photos. That piece — The Memorial War Book (1894) by George F. Williams — contains numerous photos attributed to the teams of Brady and Alexander Gardner and was the first published photo-engraved book of Civil War photography. The three Hanover Junction photos appear at p. 395 of that book, and are correctly represented under the master caption “Scenes of Hanover Junction, Pa.” Even more remarkably, they are placed in a grouping with images and text relating to the Battle of Gettysburg campaign. On June 27, 1863, Confederate forces raided Hanover Junction, cut the telegraph wires, and burned the covered railroad bridge which spanned the adjacent Codorus Creek. By some unknown means that book’s author correctly determined where those photos were taken and used them to illustrate events in 1863 (see example, below). As revealed above, the National Archives apparently notated on the plate jacket belonging to at least one of the photos in March of 1937 that the Virginia location was incorrect. But not until Josephine Cobb figured out the mistaken location in about 1950 did the National Archives finally change its descriptions for all of the views in its collection. See “Claim Photo in Times Was Abe Lincoln,” The Gettysburg Times, October 11, 1952.
The Memorial War Book_395c
Mr. Frassanito writes that “all of the available evidence, including the barren foliage, does tend to support [a] November 1863 dating” of the Hanover Junction views.  The Gettysburg Then & Now Companion, at p. 58. The manner of dress worn by the people posing in the images indicates that they were journeying to or from a formal event and supports a late fall dating. Several soldiers, young and old, can be seen with canes (in one case, a military man uses two of them like crutches) suggesting that they had sustained leg wounds and no longer were in active duty (see detail below from a gelatin silver print on a card mount, courtesy of the Library of Congress).
33496u peopleMight they have been wounded veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg traveling to or returning from the site of that bloody engagement, explaining why they (excluding the two men preening in the left foreground) and four bonnet-wearing women were the centerpiece of this particular view? These apparently wounded men may have been convalescing nearby at the York General Hospital, located to the north near the North Central Railway station in York, PA, and found themselves stranded in Hanover Junction with passengers from Washington who had reached that place by passing through Baltimore at the southern end of the North Central Line. In short, the Hanover Junction photos may reveal passengers who had come on two different trains from opposite directions and been deposited at the same station awaiting transport to Gettysburg. See also detail, below, from a different Hanover Junction view in which several soldiers (marked #s 4, 5, 6, 8 & 11) pose in a forward position:
E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. contemporaneously published at least four of the stereo views taken at Hanover Junction in its The War for the Union series of stereocards, noting on each card’s verso that the negatives were by “Brady & Co., Washington” (See “The War for the Union, War Views” #s 2330, 2331, 2332, and 2333).  Anthony & Co. also printed and sold other Civil War photographers’ works. If one of the Anthony & Co.  stereo cards designated Brady as the supplier of the negative, it can be said with a very high degree of probability that the photo was taken by a Brady photographer. For example, the front and back images of an original Anthony “War Views” card #2332, taken at Hanover Junction, appear below, courtesy of John Richter:
Hanover Junction02Frontm2Hanover Junction02Backm2
The Library of Congress attributes the Hanover Junction views to “Mathew B. Brady or assistant.” In summary, this information, Mr. Frassanito’s analysis, and the more recently gleaned evidence that Brady sent Berger and Woodbury to Gettysburg in November 1863, constitute substantial support for crediting the Hanover Junction series of photographs to Messrs. Berger and Woodbury.
Why might two Brady men have exposed photographic plates at, of all places, Hanover Junction? In short, all train passengers traveling from Washington, D.C. to Gettysburg, and vice-versa, had to go through Hanover Junction, PA. It was there that two railroads met — the North Central Line and the Hanover Branch Line, the latter of which ran westward to and ultimately terminated in Gettysburg on the Gettysburg Railroad. It is reasonable to presume that both Berger and Woodbury were transported to Gettysburg from D.C. by railcar in November of 1863, twice placing them in Hanover Junction. Because Woodbury’s letter to his sister specifies that he and Berger had no trouble finding lodging in Gettysburg, it is very likely that they arrived in Gettysburg no later than on November 17, 1863 — before the most substantial crowds descended upon the town in droves. This is a reasonable supposition in light of the several accounts detailing significant train delays and the huge volume of Gettysburg-bound passenger traffic on November 18 and 19, as well as the problems those late arriving out-of-town guests had in securing lodging. A reporter for the New-York World didn’t mince any words: “The railroad facilities were very bad, especially between Hanover Junction and Gettysburg. I am informed that the best was done that was possible, but that may or may not mean anything. The passengers were compelled to crowd into dirty freight and cattle cars, and in that manner to ride a distance of some thirty miles, to their individual and universal discomfort.”  Another correspondent wrote that in Gettysburg on the night of the 18th, “hundreds slept upon the floors of the [churches,] inns and private residences, and hundreds more took a rigid repose in the [train] cars or carriages...” With only four ordinary-sized hotels and all Gettysburg-area residences overflowing, “there were many people walking the streets, unable to get any accommodations for the night.” Tim Smith, “Twenty-Five Hours at Gettysburg,” Blue & Gray Magazine, at p. 14 (Fall 2008), quoting “Dedication of National Cemetery,” Gettysburg Star and Banner, November 26, 1863 and Daniel A. Skelly, “A Boy’s Experiences During the Battle of Gettysburg” (1932) at p. 26.
Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s former law partner from Illinois, the President’s de facto body guard, and the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia, was selected to serve as the Marshal-in-Chief for the November 19 dedication ceremonies in Gettysburg. To this end, on November 17, he made the journey from Washington to Gettysburg along with a number of judges, politicians, journalists, dignitaries, and friends, several of whom were to serve as Lamon’s aides at the National Cemetery dedication ceremonies on the 19th. The Ward Hill Lamon Papers at the Huntington Library reveal that twelve men who agreed to serve as aides signed a petition “signifying their intention of accompanying Marshal Lamon to Gettysburg tomorrow — leaving this city at the hour unnamed (undated).” Among the men accompanying Lamon were Benjamin B. French, Judge Joseph Casey, John W. Forney, Solomon N. Pettis, and John Van Risiwick. A journalist who accompanied Lamon on the 17th (perhaps John W. Forney) wrote the following account, published on November 18 in the Philadelphia Press and the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle:
[Mr.] Lamon and a number of his aids … left Washington this morning, at a quarter past eleven o’clock, for Gettysburg, in special cars, kindly provided  by W.P. Smith, of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. They arrived in Baltimore at one o’clock, and repaired to the Eutaw House, where a sumptuous dinner was partaken of, by the courtesy of Mr. Smith. At three P.M. the party left for Hanover Junction, in a special car furnished by the officers of the North Central Railroad. Here we are detained, no car being ready to convey the party to Gettysburg.”
Given Mathew Brady’s high profile, it is possible that Lamon invited the head of Brady’s D.C. photography studio and his colleague, Mr. Woodbury, to  ride with him to Gettysburg — for free, no less. If so, Messrs. Berger and Woodbury would have found themselves stuck with Lamon in Hanover Junction in the mid-to-late afternoon of the 17th with a lot of time to kill waiting for a connecting train to Gettysburg, explaining why they might have unloaded their photographic equipment and exposed several plates in Hanover Junction.  See, for example, detail from one of the photos (below) showing the photographers’ portable darkroom deployed along a fence line adjoining one of the tracks.
01530udetail 01531adarkroom
The author of “Crowds Await Transfer to Gettysburg for Dedication of the National Cemetery in Nov. 1863,” noted above, estimates that a Hanover Junction photo reproduced below was taken at approximately 4:00 p.m. on November 18, 1863. If the time of day is correct, it would fit into the timetable for when the Lamon contingent was stranded in Hanover Junction waiting for a connecting train to appear on the 17th. As noted in the October 11, 1952 edition of The Gettysburg Times, “shadows indicate the time of day would be shortly before [a November] sunset.” Thomas Norrell took Hanover Junction photographs “in mid-November of 1953 at 3:30 p.m. which [he claimed] have exactly the same shadows.” The Gettysburg Times, January 1, 1954.
In one of the Hanover Junction photos, two men stand prominently atop a parked train car hitched directly behind a locomotive (see a print on a card mount in the Library of Congress collection, below, which was cropped down from the more expansive National Archives B-83 negative). They are the most discernible people in the print and possibly the chief targets of the cameramen. Perhaps the men standing atop the train are Ward H. Lamon and his brother Robert, who served as an aide for his older brother at the Gettysburg dedication ceremonies? Robert, who also served as an Assistant U.S. Marshal under Ward H. Lamon in Washington, was then 28 years old; his older brother was 35.


See detail, below left, of the two men as well as detail, below right, featuring them prominently within a different Hanover Junction view taken looking towards the eastern-facing side of the depot.

possible Lamons-3a50436u01530uLamonCompare these men with a studio photograph of Ward Hill Lamon (courtesy of the Library of Congress) credited to Mathew Brady and a carte de visite of Robert Lamon from about 1864:

02903u_head crop Robert Lamon crop
Is it possible that they are the same men? Might this explain why Berger and Woodbury possibly exposed several of their precious glass plate negative slides even before they arrived in Gettysburg?
The goateed man with the bowler hat also appears in a stereo view scene depicting a railroad bridge over Codorus Creek (see below, in close-up detail, courtesy of the Library of Congress). The approximate center point of that North Central Line bridge, where the man sat, is no more than about 250 feet from the eastern side of the Hanover Junction railroad station. The camera was set up about 400 to 500 feet from the station house next to the Hanover Branch Line tracks and faced the Codorus Creek bridge looking in an east by northeasterly direction. The sunlight cast on the man illustrates that the plate was exposed late in the afternoon when the sun was low in the southwestern sky. I estimate the distance from the camera to the man on the bridge at about 325 to 375 feet. Was Ward H. Lamon the sort of man who might have walked out onto a train bridge, sat on the end of a railroad tie in the middle of the bridge, and there dangled his feet in order to pose for a stereo photograph? Would Anthony Berger or David Woodbury have asked W.H. and Robert Lamon to do such a thing, let alone climb atop a railroad car, or might Ward H. Lamon — Lincoln’s self-proclaimed bodyguard and the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia — have directed the camera operators to photograph him and his brother in several poses demonstrating their virility?
Three other males joined the goateed man on the bridge. Only one of them also sat on the end of a railroad tie, but that man chose a somewhat safer spot where his feet firmly rested upon a large, squared log directly above one of the bridge’s massive stone foundations in the middle of the creek. He is the same fellow seen standing with the goateed man in the two other Hanover Junction views previously discussed and who may be Robert Lamon (see a comparison, below).
Robert Lamon compare
Is the goateed man Ward Hill Lamon, who was captured in this and two other pictures by the photographers as a form of payback for providing free transportation to Gettysburg, or is he simply a historically irrelevant figure with a goatee who prominently inserted himself (along with a younger man) into three generic Berger & Woodbury views which were taken only with the object of photographing buildings and structures rather than specific people or groups of significant people in various scenes?
Because the only other people photographed on the bridge are a boy shielding his eyes from the sun with his right hand (see above) — standing between the men who may be the brothers Lamon — and one of the interloping men preening before the camera in the view showing military men and several women on the station house platform (see a side-by-side comparison, below), it appears that the goateed man and his side-kick again were the primary human subject matter posed within in a Hanover Junction photographic view taken by the Berger-Woodbury team.
preening man compare
In his book The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery (1993), Professor Frank L. Klement describes Ward H. Lamon as “stout, most handsome, and possessed of a swashbuckling air.” Despite an apparent penchant for striking swashbuckling poses and the resemblance of his younger side-kick to Robert Lamon, is the goateed fellow burly enough or even tall enough to be Ward H. Lamon? Would Lamon have been inclined to cut his hair that short before he served as the Chief Marshal at the Gettysburg Soldier’s Cemetery dedication event? Was Lamon clean-shaven or sporting a goatee in November 1863? Part of the difficulty in making any conclusive identification of the possible Lamon figure is that there are not, to my knowledge, any dated photos of him from 1863, let alone in the fall of 1863, to use as a base of comparison. A hatless man with a goatee seated next to Lincoln on the Gettysburg speakers’ platform visible in the so-called David Bachrach photo taken on November 19, 1863 might by W.H. Lamon, but it is more likely that he is one of Lincoln’s personal assistants, John Nicolay, especially given where he is seated. Whether or not Ward H. Lamon is in the Hanover Junction views, however, is a mere sidelight to a bigger question. Again, quoting Professor Klement, he writes: “on the next day, November 18, most of Lamon’s friends and aides toured various parts of the vast battlefield [in Gettysburg].” If Messrs. Berger & Woodbury accompanied Lamon to Gettysburg on the 17th, they probably revisited portions of the Gettysburg battlefield on the 18th, perhaps even famous locations they had missed in July such as Meade’s headquarters at the Lydia Leister house, Devil’s Den, and John Burns’ home. It is exciting to speculate that these men took more Gettysburg battlefield views which have yet to be discovered.
Whereas searching for the tandem of Ward Hill and Robert Lamon was not the impetus behind this review of the Hanover Junction photos, other researchers have engaged in the search for Gettysburg dedication ceremony luminaries in the Hanover Junction images for more than a half century. For a number of years particularly Thomas Norrell, a collector of old locomotive photos, and Russell Bowman, President of the Lincoln Society of Hanover Junction, argued that President Lincoln is visible in at least one of the Hanover Junction views. Their position first was made public prior to Josephine Cobb’s November 1952 disclosure of Lincoln’s visage in a Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Cemetery dedication photograph. Until then, it was “pretty well agreed [by and among Lincoln scholars] that the Great Emancipator was never photographed either at or on his way to Gettysburg, Pa.” The Gettysburg Times, October 11, 1952. The advocates of Lincoln’s presence in a Hanover Junction photo — the one depicting two men standing atop a parked train car, seen above — assert that a whiskered figure in a stovepipe hat standing largely unattended on the platform near the locomotive is President Lincoln (see detail below, Library of Congress).
alleged lincoln00
When originally disclosed to the media, this photo created a “buzz” as it was held out as the possible first photographic discovery of Lincoln’s image in connection with his visit to Gettysburg. After the Western Maryland Railway Company released the photo in early October 1952 “calling attention to the ‘tall man’ in the stove pipe hat … experts and amateurs alike jumped into the controversy. Art editors sent the photo throughout the country. Life Magazine pondered the problem and set the prints before its readers.” The Gettysburg Times, January 1, 1954. One of the arguments asserted in support of the “Lincoln was photographed at Hanover Junction” theory is “the fact that the picture was made at all by the famed Brady … indicate[s] an event of some importance in Hanover Junction.” Despite initial skepticism over — and even out-right rejection of — the claim that Lincoln was photographed at Hanover Junction expressed by notables such as Ms. Cobb, numerous Lincoln scholars, and photo-historians, The Gettysburg Times  on June 17, 1953 described the photo in question as “the famed Hanover Junction picture, which many claim depicts Lincoln enroute to Gettysburg.”
Without now parsing through the several contextual arguments running counter to the “its Lincoln at Hanover Junction” theory, I’ll simply note that today’s high resolution digital scans reveal that the man does not look at all like Lincoln. Moreover, if Ward H. Lamon and his brother Robert are visible in several of the Hanover Junction views, then the whiskered man cannot be Lincoln because Lamon traveled to Gettysburg the day before Abraham Lincoln left Washington. Which leads us back to some remaining questions — are these views merely generic scenes of the Hanover Junction railway station and surroundings taken in November 1863 which just happened to be populated with a number of stranded passengers or did the photographers compose these images purposefully and place a specific person or persons of notoriety in one or more of their stereoscopic scenes? Also, assuming that the images, in fact, were exposed around the time of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, did Anthony Berger and David Woodbury take them on the way to or back from Gettysburg? If Berger and Woodbury took these views in connection with their now documented trip to Gettysburg, what happened to the views they took in Gettysburg of “the crowd and Procession?” How is it that four of their Hanover Junction views were published by E. H. & T. Anthony & Co. but none of their Gettysburg dedication event views are known to collectors and historians? Ah, the secrets that have yet to be revealed …
By Craig Heberton, May 4, 2014 (to be continued)

[1] “The Daguerrean Art – Its Origin and Present State,” Photographic Art-Journal, March 1851, Vol. I No. 3, at p. 138.

[2] Meredith, Roy, Mr. Lincoln’s Camera Man, Mathew B. Brady (1974), at p. 79.

[3] Possibly in Humphrey’s Journal of the Daguerreotype and Photographic Arts, Vol. V (1853).

[4] The term “artist” was a common manner by which early photographers described themselves. Some of the earliest daguerreotypists and collodion photographers, like Samuel F. B. Morse, migrated from portrait painting into the complimentary and emerging art of portrait or landscape photography. This leap was made possible if the painter had the capacity to learn and apply the scientific elements of early photography or could partner with or work for someone who did. An article entitled “The Dignity of Our Art” published in the April 1852 edition of the Photographic Art-Journal, Volume 3 No. 4, at pp. 230-232, explains the overlapping principles necessary to paint a person’s likeness and to capture it in a photograph: “Every art and science have had their votaries, consecrating themselves to the great worth, and the peculiar beauties existing in them. Art has had its Fulton, Science its Newton, and Daguerreotyping its Daguerre, and with the latter, the morning of the new art dawned with a light as pure, as brilliant and far penetrating into the chaste and beautiful as ever radiated on earth from the old arts and sciences …The painter draws with his pencil, while the daguerrean draws with the camera, and each instrument in unartistic hands will undoubtedly produce abortions; for if the painter is without the knowledge of the general rules of perspective we may expect faulty productions with their distorted proportions and bad lines, no matter how good the coloring may be or how effective the arrangement of lights and shades, and it will be disagreeable to look upon. The same rule holds good in daguerreotyping, as the correctness and pleasing lines depend entirely on the proper position of the camera towards the object to be taken … Another evidence of the relativeness of photography to pure art is, that the operator must observe all of the identical rules necessary for the production of a work of merit that a painter or sculptor would follow to secure the graceful position, proper distribution and degree of light and shade, also tone of picture …” The author of that article, Gabriel Harrison, who opened “an elegant gallery on Fulton Street Brooklyn,” was touted by the Photographic and Fine-Art Journal both as an accomplished “painter and daguerreotyper.” But “despite defects the camera portrait had one great advantage over the skilled painter, who could betray truth and make his subject as likeable as he wished. The camera’s eye was brutally realistic. As the critic H.H. Snelling remarked in 1857: ‘The colored [photographic] portrait has an advantage over the best works of the best art masters, for the latter cannot rival the former in truth.'” Vanity required that some of the “truth” be touched up by the application of an artists’ brush or a colorist’s crayon. Photographers were all too willing to oblige human vanity by hiring painters and colorists to add finishing touches to their work in exchange for higher fees.

[5] Wilson, Henry (comp), Trow’s New York City Directory for the Year Ending May 1, 1856 (1855), at p. 71.

[6] Horan, James D., Mathew Brady, Historian with a Camera (1955), at p. 23.

[7] Ibid., at p. 24.

[8] In 1860 M.B. Brady opened his “fourth and last New York studio at 785 Broadway” located at or near the corner of 10th Street. “Matthew Brady’s World: a Biographical Timeline,” National Portrait Gallery, See also, Grier, Edward F. (ed), The Collected Writings of Walt Whitman, Volume II Washington (1984), at p. 825. Perhaps Anthony Berger was assigned to manage that location.

[9] Although M. B. Brady’s address listed in the 1862-1863 New York City directory is “785 B’way,” he may also have done business at 806 Broadway in that several other people identified as “artists” also listed that address as their place of business in the 1862-1863 directory: Amelia Browne, Loyal Moss Ives, Robert Newman, Walter Shirlaw and Rufus Wright. Loyal Moss Ives is listed as an “artist” at 806 Broadway in each year up through the 1870-1871 New York City directory. He had been an accomplished daguerrean who had partnered with John W. Black in Boston. Walter Shirlaw, known for his later paintings, just so happens to have hailed from Paisley, Scotland, the place where Alexander Gardner was born. Like Shirlaw, Rufus Wright is known for his post-Civil War paintings. A resident of Brooklyn even as of 1863, he also is listed as an “artist” at 806 Broadway in the 1863-1864 directory. Perhaps these people were Brady employees who did retouching work on his negatives, carte de visites, and albumen prints.

The Brady Bunch: The Case of the Missing Gettysburg Photos

11 Jan

David B. Woodbury was a Civil War battlefield photographer who worked for Mathew B. Brady. According to Frederic E. Ray, Woodbury probably is the man seated on the left, below, in detail from an 1864 image at the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division (


A recent online auction offered for sale a collection of manuscripts — including a diary, notes, and letters — written by or belonging to David B. Woodbury (the “David B. Woodbury Collection”). The owner of the David B. Woodbury Collection noted in that auction that the diary and pertinent letters were enthusiastically reviewed in 1970 by Josephine Cobb, a pioneer in Civil War photography scholarship who worked for years at the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives and first identified Lincoln seated on the speakers’ platform in a Gettysburg photograph in 1952 (the “Bachrach photo”). Unlike a number of his colleagues, David B. Woodbury continued to work for Mathew Brady in Washington, D.C. even after Alexander Gardner struck out on his own. He is described by Frederic E. Ray as “arguably the best of the artists who stayed with Brady throughout the war.”

The 1860 Federal Census reveals that 21 year-old David B. Woodbury then lived in Norwalk, CT with the family of photographer and former jeweler & daguerreotypist — Edward T. Whitney.  After learning wet-plate photography from Boston’s famed photographer J.W. Black, Whitney moved to Norwalk, CT in 1859 from Rochester, NY.

1855 Humphrey's Journal of Photography  vol 07 n04_05 June 15, 1855 adAd in June 15, 1855 Humphrey’s Journal of Photography  Vol. 07, n0. 4.

It is very likely that David B. Woodbury first met and worked for Edward T. Whitney in Rochester because the Woodbury family relocated from Vermont to Rochester after 1850 but sometime prior to the taking of the 1855 New York State Census when David was 16 years old. Consequently, David probably moved to Norwalk with Whitney in 1859.

Detailing some of his professional and wartime experiences, Edward T. Whitney reminisced in 1884 that:

[ I must allude] to the valuable aid and instruction I received from Mr. A. W. Paradise [in New York City in the late 1840s], who was Mr. Brady’s right-hand man so many years, and who afterward became my partner in business. Also to the courtesy extended to me by Brady and Gurney, in whose galleries I was accorded access … In 1859, my health becoming impaired by use of cyanide, causing constant headache and weak eyes, I went to Norwalk, Conn., to recruit. In three weeks I recovered my health and decided to sell out in Rochester. Leaving a successful business, I returned to New York, opened a gallery at 585 Broadway with Mr. A. W. Paradise, also one in Norwalk, Conn.

1865 Trow's NY Register_p975 069 Whitney & Paradise

Business card in 1865 Trow’s New York City Directory

When the war broke out, Mr. Brady asked me to take my operator, Mr. Woodbury, and go into the field and make photographs for the Government of the scenes of the war. We went. Our first pictures were taken after the battle of Bull Run. We had a large covered wagon with two horses, and a heavy load of glass, apparatus, chemicals, and provisions  …  We spent the winter taking views of the fortifications around Washington and places of interest for the Government. But time will not allow me to go into detail of views taken at Yorktown, Williamsburgh, White House, Gaines Hill, Chickahominy, Seven Pines. During the seven days’ retreat from before Richmond to Harrison’s Landing, photographs were taken of James River from a balloon. At some other time, if desired, I may try to do justice to those times and scenes. Mr. Woodbury and myself were not the only ones connected with Brady in getting pictures of the war scenes … We endured the hardships of the camp, the difficulties of getting transportation, the sickening sights of the dead and dying, the danger of capture—and for what? To perpetuate for history the scenes of war, refusing to stop by the way to make portraits for money, which many were doing.

Mr. Whitney’s account gives us a nice general overview of some of David B. Woodbury’s Civil War experiences for the period of 1861 through part of 1862. But what of the rest of the war?

As a sort of “teaser,” the owner of the David B. Woodbury Collection posted at his auction site a low resolution image of the first page of a letter written by David B. Woodbury to his sister, Eliza, dated November 23, 1863. Here is what I was able to decipher within that image:


Nov 23, 1863

Dear Sister

I received yours of the 4th some time ago and was very glad to hear that you were doing so well and that Father and Mother … ??? … health. I was very sorry to hear of [Father?] being sick … wish to presume he is about well by this time. I went to Gettysburg on the 19th with Mr. Burger the superintendent of the Gallery here. We made some pictures of the crowd and Procession. We took our blankets and provisions with us expecting the crowd would be so great that not more than half would find lodgings. We found no trouble in getting both food and lodging.

The “Mr. Burger” who accompanied Woodbury to Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 undoubtedly is Anthony Berger who had journeyed with Woodbury to Gettysburg from Washington, D.C. in July of 1863 shortly after the conclusion of the great battle [Berger is best known for a number of photographs he took of Lincoln at Brady’s Washington, D.C. studio, the most recognizable of which graces the U.S. Five Dollar bill].

Berger manager-1864 Boyd's Directory-Wash DC-001 MB Brady at 288c

1864 Boyd’s Washington [D.C.] and Georgetown Directory (1863), p. 288 

After several days of familiarizing themselves with the Gettysburg battlefield terrain, they were joined in mid-July by their boss, Mathew B. Brady, whereupon they recorded a number of photographic views.  Thus, Messrs. Woodbury and Berger were quite familiar with Gettysburg and some of its inhabitants from their extended visit to that place a mere four months earlier.

Of the nine known photographs taken in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, none are attributed by modern day scholars or photo-historians to David B. Woodbury, Anthony Berger, Mathew B. Brady, or anyone else who then worked or freelanced for Brady. The first page of David B. Woodbury’s letter to his sister Eliza reveals that he was in Gettysburg on the 19th of November and took photographs there “of the crowd and Procession” with another Brady man, Anthony Berger. It leaves us wondering what other nuggets of information are inscribed in Woodbury’s November 23 letter, including descriptions of the events of the day and whether he and Berger took any photographs on the cemetery grounds. This single letter may or may not contain extraordinary information previously hidden from historians (other than Ms. Cobb) about both the dedication event and the photographs that these two men created.

Detail (below) from a photograph (LC) taken looking out over the Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery grounds on November 19, 1863 shows a photographer on a ladder above his assistant, to the right, who is standing next to an apparent portable darkroom on a tripod. The view of them is slightly impaired by some leafless tree branches but there is no doubt that these men were photographers. Might they be David B. Woodbury manning the camera while perched atop the ladder and Anthony Berger standing next to the portable darkroom?

32845u-auto adjusted5

Some other questions have to be asked out loud — is it possible that Woodbury and Berger created any of the known Gettysburg images, such as, for example, the photo taken from a second floor window of the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse attributed by William A. Frassanito to Peter S. Weaver (which would rule out them appearing in the above detail) or even the famous photo depicting Lincoln which Mr. Frassanito and others credit to David Bachrach? Might some or all of the Woodbury Gettysburg photos still await discovery in a dusty attic or a long-ago sealed box? Or were all of the glass plate exposures created by those men in Gettysburg on the 19th of November destroyed or placed somewhere forever out of our collective reach? Irrespective of the answers to these questions, the David B. Woodbury Collection may well constitute a gold mine for research into one photographer’s actions and experiences in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 as well as at different times and places during the war.

Alexander Gardner mentioned in passing in his Sketchbook that he “attended the consecration of the Gettysburg Cemetery, and again visited the ‘Sharpshooter’s Home.'” David Bachrach commented briefly on his Gettysburg experience in a 1916 article, noting that he “did the technical work of photographing the crowd, not with the best results with wet plates, while Mr. Everett was speaking” and was then displeased with the 8″ x 10” “negatives” he took. Peter S. Weaver’s father wrote on November 26, 1863 that he “assisted Peter of getting a Negative of the large assembly on the Semetary [sic] ground, which I think is very fine, we have not as yet printed any Phot. of the Negative …” But it remains to be seen whether David B. Woodbury wrote in even greater detail elsewhere in his letter to his sister, some other letters, or within his diary about what he did and experienced in Gettysburg. Let’s hope that someday sooner rather than later the David B. Woodbury Collection is made available for scholarly review and analysis so that some of these questions can be answered and other new ones can be asked. In the mean time, the names of Messrs. David B. Woodbury and Anthony Berger appear to merit being added to the short and exclusive list of known Gettysburg dedication ceremony photographers.

— Craig Heberton IV, January 10, 2014

The cropped images in this post are all courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

10/3/13 Press Release: Should Oakley’s Lincoln Sit Down?

3 Oct



Judy Ault

WMI Books




CROZET, VA – In 2010, Craig Heberton and his associate began to review within the Library of Congress’ collection several hi-resolution digital images of three stereographic photographs by Alexander Gardner taken on November 19, 1863 at the Gettysburg Soldier’s Cemetery dedication ceremony – two of which reveal the image of Abraham Lincoln at the scene of the Gettysburg Address – or so Heberton believed and set out to prove. Heberton published his findings in an eBook in 2012: Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg: A Review of Alexander Gardner’s Stereoscopic Photographs. The book (published by WMI Books and available on Amazon) broke new ground in the identification of individuals surrounding Lincoln and the events of that important day at Gettysburg.

On September 24, 2013, the SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE released an article in the October 2013 issue titled: “Will the Real Abraham Lincoln Please Stand Up?”  The article announced a photographic discovery by Lincoln devotee and UNCA Professor, Christopher Oakley, that places Abraham Lincoln in one of the Alexander Gardner photographs. Heberton’s photographic discovery points to a much more likely figure of Lincoln.  Heberton and Oakley make a case for two entirely different figures as the true Lincoln — but who is right and why?

What makes the Heberton Lincoln a more compelling choice? The pictures tell the real story, along with over two years of research to back it up. To make his case, Heberton has created a blog that sheds light on the differences between Oakley’s Lincoln and his own – compelling research data that raises serious doubts about Oakley’s conclusions.  Read the blog (and the book) and view the photographs for yourself.

Here are some highlights:

Why Oakley’s Lincoln is wrong:

Oakley’s Lincoln is completely ignored by the crowd whereas Lincoln was the center of attention on his arrival;

No dignitaries are on their feet to greet Oakley’s Lincoln when he alone begins mounting steps to the platform;

Oakley’s Lincoln is unaccompanied by the three attending members of Lincoln’s Cabinet (Seward, Blair, and Usher); accounts state that Lincoln immediately followed them onto the platform;

Oakley doesn’t place his Lincoln on the platform until ten minutes after Sec. of State Seward is seated;

No men in the crowd removed their hats in a show of respect for Oakley’s Lincoln;

The nose on Oakley’s Lincoln is “hawk-shaped” and does not match Lincoln’s nose;

The alleged beard on the chin of Oakley’s Lincoln is tucked downwards into his shirt and is so much darker than his other facial hair, suggesting it is a large bow tie rather than a beard;

Oakley’s Lincoln is on the far right of the platform buried several rows back; all accounts and photos place Lincoln in the front and center of the speakers stand.

Why Heberton’s Lincoln makes more sense:

His Lincoln is the center of focused attention from nearly all visible platform spectators in two photos while atop his horse directly in front of the speakers’ platform;

Some men on the platform doffed their hats for his Lincoln;

His Lincoln is positioned near a presidential-appearing eagle finial topped staff;

Lincoln wore white gauntlets over his extremely large hands and was preoccupied with the children at Gettysburg, patting their heads & bestowing kisses;

His Lincoln extends a large white gloved hand in front of a boy’s face seated on the front of his saddle;

His Lincoln precedes Lincoln’s special escort sent by Sec. of War Stanton to safeguard the President, consistent with an account that the escort rode behind Lincoln in the procession;

Within the shadows is revealed a distinctive bearded chin and a large ear and long nose, appearing like Lincoln’s;

A line of contrast in darkness on his Lincoln’s hat betrays the presence of a hat band which Lincoln wore in honor of his deceased son Willie; and

Movement by his possible Lincoln throughout the 2nd exposure created a long and narrow opalescent ghost-image face, smiling at the camera, which appears to have a bearded small chin.

To learn more about Heberton’s photographic discovery of Lincoln and the latest in the Lincoln at Gettysburg photographic debate, please join us online at Facebook and Twitter and follow the book’s blog:

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Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg:

A Review of Alexander Gardner’s Stereoscopic Photos:

October 2013 Smithsonian Magazine Article: