Tag Archives: Gettysburg

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 Seward.cf 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 abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress.com.

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.

 

 

Teacher, Teach Thyself About Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”

3 Oct

Imagine yourself as a young male schoolteacher in Pennsylvania about 150 years ago.

You have been invited to attend the Thirteenth Annual Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association in Gettysburg from July 31st to August 2nd, 1866.[1] President Lincoln’s assassination and the end of four unfathomably bloody and numbing years of war are only a few months removed in time. You have returned home from two years of military service but minus some family members, soldier colleagues, and friends. Though the gruesome and glorious events of 1861-1865 are forever etched in your memory, your job now, as it was for several months before you enlisted, is to educate schoolchildren.[2]

The chance to see the famous Gettysburg battlefield  is irresistible. While the battle raged there, you served in the 45th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment under the cousin of Pennsylvania Governor Curtin at the assault on Vicksburg.[3] That Vicksburg and several other battles in which you participated never attained the fame of Gettysburg is still beyond your comprehension. For that reason, you want to see Gettysburg. Because the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association has arranged for free rail fare, you have no excuse not to go.

You arrive in Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 30, 1866 at the same rail station from which wounded soldiers were borne off to hospitals back east only three years ago; you also make a mental note that President Lincoln and other famous American and foreign dignitaries passed through the same station. At the Gettysburg Courthouse you register for the event by paying an annual fee of $1.00. There you encounter the President of the State Teachers’ Association, Dr. S.P. Bates, who asks you to act as a scrivener for the Session meetings and serve as the chronicler of arranged Gettysburg battlefield visits. He explains that if you agree, you will be asked to compose a written account for the September 1866 edition of the Pennsylvania School Journal. He knows of your stenography and writing skills and offers to pay you a nominal sum for your services. You are honored by the request and immediately consent.

The opening speaker at the Association’s morning session on July 31, 1866 is Dr. Bates. He explains how an unexpectedly large turnout forced the relocation of the session meetings from the Court House to St. James Lutheran Church on York St. You wonder to yourself how the Association was caught unawares by the large turnout — why didn’t they anticipate that so many teachers would want to see the Gettysburg battlefield? You are pleased to learn that “arrangements [will] be made for a visit to the battle-field by members present, with suitable guides [so as not to] interfere with the regular session …” Dr. Bates further expresses the hope that joining together on the “great and decisive battle-field” of Gettysburg where …

“many of the soldiers here were teachers … should incite us to still greater efforts. Our schools, academics and colleges were preserved by this victory; but we should not be satisfied with this result. The cause of Education, thus preserved, must also be made progressive or rather aggressive … The future condition of [especially the Southern States] will greatly depend upon the use now to be made, by the art of the teacher, of the advantages thus conquered for its children.”[4]

The County Superintendent of Schools for Adams County, Pa., Mr. Aaron Shelley, speaks next. He had been a teacher before his first election to the post of county superintendent in 1863[5]. After welcoming us to Gettysburg, he explains that …

“there are those present who participated in the sanguinary conflict here, and to them I must leave the task of describing more fully the scene and events which have made Gettysburg so celebrated …  You will not fail to visit the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and shed a tear over the graves of the gallant dead … It is the soldier’s duty to fight for principles, but it is the teacher’s duty to establish and maintain them … Yours is truly a mission of love and good will.”[6] [emphasis added]

Late in the afternoon, you join a group visiting Pennsylvania College at the invitation of its president, Dr. Henry L. Baugher, who receives you there. A Cincinnati journalist’s description of Dr. Baugher is apt:

“a semi bald head, a hooked Roman nose, clear blue eye, and a decidedly clerical face. He would pass anywhere for a theological professor, a man of firm will, but kindly.”[7]

You express your keen interest in seeing the battlefield on Cemetery Hill to Dr. Baugher. He, like Mr. Shelley, graciously explains that you should not fail to pay homage at the Soldiers’ Cemetery and there ponder President Lincoln’s consecration address. Dr. Baugher mentions, too, the role he played in those dedication ceremonies by giving a brief closing benediction after Lincoln’s remarks.[8] You tell him what an honor it must have been to speak the closing prayer at such an auspicious event on hallowed ground with President Lincoln seated just a few feet away. [Dr. Henry Baugher, below, from the Dickinson College Archives]:Henry L BaugherpicYou then join at least 200 other teachers under the carriage[9] escort of Colonel George Fisher McFarland[10], a teacher and former principal of McAlister Academy in Juniata County, Pa., who lost a leg during the battle’s first day at Gettysburg. It was there that he led the 151st Pennsylvania Regiment (aka the “Schoolteachers Regiment”) to reinforce the Iron Brigade around Herbst Woods. Near there the 151st took up defenses along Willoughby Run. When the entire First Corps fell back, he had his regiment rally at the Lutheran Theological Seminary where he was shot in both legs.[11] By fighting a delaying action, McFarland’s regiment suffered extraordinarily high casualties and losses (337 of 467 men, or about 72%). [Below, left, a pre-Gettysburg photograph of Geo. F. McFarland  and detail of his gravestone at Harrisburg Cemetery, both from findagrave.com]:

Col George F McFarland buried in HarrisburgCol George F McFarland -151st PA - Harrisburg Cem2

Wrote General Abner Doubleday:

“At Gettysburg [the 151st Pa Regiment] won, under the brave McFarland, an imperishable fame. They defended the left front of the First Corps against vastly superior numbers; covered its retreat … and enabled me, by their determined resistance, to withdraw the corps in comparative safety … I can never forget the services rendered me by this regiment, directed by the gallantry and genius of McFarland. I believe they saved the First Corps, and were among the chief instruments to save the Army of the Potomac and the country from unimaginable disaster.”[12]

You are honored that the “brave McFarland” proudly leads you and the others in your group to where he understands General Reynolds fell — “the officer whose ‘magnificent rashness’ perhaps assured to us the victory.” Pausing on that ground, he speaks of Reynolds in reverential, almost hushed tones. [John F. Reynolds, pictured below, courtesy of the Library of Congress]:

Gen John F Reynolds LOC

After narrating “many incidents of the fight” and the first day’s “positions held by the troops at different times in the day,” Col. McFarland escorts your rapt and attentive group to the Lutheran Theological Seminary, also located on the battlefield, and then directs you to enter the building where his leg was amputated at a temporary hospital before the Confederates overran the position and took him prisoner. You think you hear him musing about where his amputated leg might be buried before he speaks with the highest praise for the services rendered by the surgeons and their assistants in that makeshift hospital which at present again functions as a school for higher education.

Thanks to the Colonel, you are beginning to understand the significance of Gettysburg.

Later that evening, Col. McFarland delivered a presentation in which he declared:

“the real issues involved [in the late rebellion] were better understood by the soldiers of the Union army than by those of the Rebel army … whether from the nature of the issues involved, or from other causes, more reason and less passion were exhibited by the soldiers of the Union than the Rebel army … and important differences between [the two armies] were the result of the universal diffusion of knowledge among the masses in the North, and a total want of this diffusion of knowledge amongst the masses in the South … Whole regiments of teachers responded to the calls of President Lincoln for troops, and hundreds sealed their devotion … by shedding their blood in its defence … It was the fortune of the speaker to lead full sixty teachers into battle just west of the Seminary, in the first day’s fight, [many of whom were killed or wounded]. The victory at Gettysburg [,] the work of the teacher! … And may you who have assembled upon this sacred spot to re-burnish your arms for new battles with ignorance and passion, catch the spirit of your worthy co-laborers who met here three years ago …” [emphasis added] [13]

Arising in the darkness early the following day, you depart for a tour of the second and third days’ fighting shortly after 6 a.m. Your guides are Col. McFarland, “the venerable John Burns” (the only citizen of Gettysburg reputed to have taken up arms against the Rebels at Gettysburg), Major Henry Lee, and Captain Walter L. Owens (a music teacher).[14] [John Burns, pictured below, left, in mid-July 1863 in front of his Gettysburg home, posing with a musket, by Mathew Brady photographers, courtesy the Library of Congress; and Capt. Walter L. Owens of the 151st Pa. Regiment, below, right, courtesy of the Gettysburg National Military Park library]:

01658vx1Capt Walter L Owens 151st PA Gettysburg National Military Park library

You all proceed as a singular group to the Soldiers’ Cemetery. From there, you split up and your group follows McFarland, Lee, and Burns to the right for a tour of Culp’s Hill where you are regaled with stories of heroism and observe the projectile-riddled trees and the Union breastwork defenses thrown up at the barb of their fishhook lines. The other even larger group leaves Cemetery Hill and follows Capt. Walter L. Owens[15] to the left on a tour towards the “Round Top.” One of the teachers in the Owens group later relays to you some of what he observed, allowing you to report:

“The evidences of the conflict are still to be seen in many directions. At one place [on the route to the Round Top] we found a human skull …. the farmer informed us that he had turned it up with his plough [but not why it was fixed “upon the top of a paling”]. Most of the stone breastworks on [the left] side, and those of earth and logs on Culp’s Hill still remain as they were left at the close of the great battle, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association having preserved the ground intact as far as was possible.”

When the tour returns to town before 10 a.m., you thank each of your guides by shaking their hands. Only John Burns eludes your handshake. Your appreciation of the Battle of Gettysburg and some of the town’s unusual and colorful residents has grown even greater. When official Association business resumes, several teachers debate the merits and demerits of coed schooling followed by discourses on the subject of “grammar” during the afternoon session. Then it is time to again visit Cemetery Hill. You write:

The most interesting episode of the week was the visit to the NATIONAL CEMETERY, on Wednesday evening … after an early tea, the members [of the Association] and many citizens of Gettysburg, who had heard of the proposed visit, betook themselves to Cemetery Hill. About half past six o’clock the assemblage of several hundred was called to order by COL. MCFARLAND …” [emphasis added]

Once upon the grounds of the National Cemetery, you are struck by the beauty of the final resting place for many of the Union soldiers killed at Gettysburg. It is classically simple, elegant, and geometrically curved in design. A poignant resting place with a commanding view.

“After the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, by the Glee Club,” Professor Martin L. Stoever of Gettysburg’s Pennsylvania College ” (pictured below, c.1868, from the Gettysburg College Special Collections)

Stoever – Martin L. Stoever (ca. 1868) Gettysburg College Special Collections

announced the reading of PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S inimitable address, by MAJOR HARRY T. LEE, a member of the Association.” [Henry (aka Harry) T. Lee, below left, from Kirk, Hyland C., Heavy Guns and Light: A History of the 4th NY Heavy Artillery (1890); and in a much later photo when he was a lawyer in Los Angeles, appearing in History of the Bench and Bar of Southern California (1909):[16]

Henry T Lee-4th NY Artillery Heavy_p253  Henry Thomas Lee from History of the Bench and Bar of Southern California, 1909Major Henry Thomas Lee was then a Professor in the Pardee Scientific Course of Lafayette College. He had “participated in the three days’ battle, serving on the staff of GEN. DOUBLEDAY” as a member of the 4th New York Artillery. He knows what happened here during the battle.

Professor Stoever further explains that Major Lee “was also present at the consecration of the battle-ground, when the PRESIDENT’S speech was delivered”[17] at the time your 45th Pennsylvania was in the midst of its Knoxville campaign. You realize that the Major also knows what happened here at the cemetery dedication on November 19, 1863. On that topic, Major Lee made the following remarks:

“In the presence of these graves, within sight of Gettysburg, upon this doubly consecrated spot, it is fitting that no word should be uttered save that which comes from the heart; and its has been thought appropriate that in this solemn presence we should let our martyred PRESIDENT speak again as once before he spoke to an assembled multitude upon this crowded hillside, many of them the friends and relatives of those who sleep around us … [Major Lee then summarized the November 19, 1863 ceremonies:] REV. DR. STOCKTON opened the exercises with an impressive prayer which was followed by the Oration of HON. EDWARD EVERETT. The latter … although it was scholarly, masterly, exquisite; yet it failed to touch the heart. It was faultless as a Greek statue and — as cold. “

Maj. Lee paused for several seconds to let his last point sink in before proceeding:

“Then Lincoln arose, his face seamed and furrowed with marks of care, his eyes moist with tears, and in a voice tremulous with the deepest emotion, he pronounced in his simple and unaffected manner, The Speech of that memorable day. There was not a dry eye in the vast assemblage, and from the loud sobs that interrupted the PRESIDENT during some parts of his address, it was at times impossible to hear what he had to say.”

Contemporary accounts by several journalists reported how Lincoln let loose with several tears that day on the speakers’ platform during Rev. Stockton’s opening prayer. He moistened up yet again much later at a point of time in Edward Everett’s keynote oration when — “the sufferings of dying soldiers were recited [by Everett, and] scarcely a dry eye was visible, the President mingling his tears with those of the people.” Boston Journal, November 23, 1863. A similar account appeared in the Boston Advertiser, November 23, 1863.

You don’t fully understand the impact of Lincoln’s words described by the introductory remarks of Major Lee until the Major reads aloud Lincoln’s Dedicatory Address standing near where Lincoln had once stood on a platform. Lee orates it in a “clear and distinct voice … breaking the stillness of the solemn hour as though he stood alone upon the base of the [Soldiers’] monument.” What he recites aloud to you and your fellow teachers stirs your deepest emotions.

At the conclusion of the event, before returning to the Church in town, you reflect upon:

“the appropriate character of these exercises, the witching beauty of the twilight hour, the passing loveliness of the landscape …, tender thoughts of thirty-five hundred gallants sons of the Republic, martyrs of liberty, who sleep side by side in quiet graves; and the thousand thronging memories that came crowding upon the brain as [you] stood upon the great sacrificial Altar of Freedom.”

Moved, you find yourself asking rhetorically, “what member of the Association [here] present can ever forget this reading of the DEDICATORY ADDRESS on CEMETERY HILL?”

And later, back in your quarters, you record your closing thoughts on paper:

“Of the world’s great orators and authors not one in a hundred has really added anything permanent. But … in [his] address, LINCOLN has done for the American schoolboy what even WASHINGTON never did — has given him a “new speech” — which will do more through her growing youth to mould the patriotic sentiment of coming generations of American people, than is ever possible for even the grand Farewell Address of the “Father of our Country” to accomplish. Among all of the classic models which have become a power in moulding the sentiment of the civilized world, we know of nothing better or more appropriate for the purpose indicated then the brief address of ABRAHAM LINCOLN … It has already passed into our recently published school speakers and will be as familiar to the school-boy of the future, as Webster’s Repy to Hayne, or his famous speech on Bunker Hill. PRESIDENT LINCOLN was in error when he remarked so beautifully, ‘The world will little note nor long remember what we say here.’ His brief address will live as long as Cemetery Hill endures, as long as the world shall tell the deeds that have made Gettysburg immortal in story. To the teacher who may chance to read these paragraphs, we would say: Encourage your pupils to commit this ADDRESS to memory — never to be forgotten. Let the noble sentiment which it breathes become their life-long patriotic creed.” [emphasis added]

As you depart Gettysburg by train on August 2, 1866, headed for the depot in Hanover Junction, you reflect on the sights of and stories told on the Gettysburg battlefield and compare them in your mind to your own wartime experiences. You think of your dead friends and comrades left behind in makeshift graves in southern states who deserve a final resting place and honors of burial in a setting like the Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery. But you also reflect upon the realization that some of what you have experienced in your three full days at Gettysburg faintly echoes elements of the Gettysburg Cemetery Dedication events. You understand your good fortune; this is as close as anyone could possibly have come to time traveling back to Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. From henceforth, you resolve that your curriculum for all students shall include the memorization and recitation of Lincoln’s Dedicatory Address at Gettysburg.

And it is your hope that enduring peace, prosperity, and a new birth of freedom shall be experienced by the next generation.

 

[Note: in reality, the Gettysburg Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association did not conclude until the evening of August 2, 1866. On that morning, David McConaughy, a local State Senator, was introduced to the State Teachers’ Association in order to discuss the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.  Explaining  that “the grandest monument of the battle is the field itself,” McConaughy stated that within 10 days after the battle’s end, Little Round Top (aka Granite Spur) was purchased so “that part of the field, in every respect possible, presents precisely the same appearance that it did at the close of battle.” He noted that other portions of the battlefield also had been bought by the Memorial Association and it was the group’s goal to buy all

“points of greatest interest ..;  open a broad avenue along the main lines of battle; to erect an observatory upon Round Top; and also to erect everywhere low monuments and enduring structures of granite … [with] inscriptions upon these stones [which] tell the visitor … what happened here or there … and thus the Field of Gettysburg may become the Mecca of the American patriot, the perpetual teacher of a nation of freemen.”

Space does not allow for a description of McConaughy’s involvement in the creation of the Gettysburg Soldiers’ National Cemetery, his rivalry with David Wills, his oversight of the Evergreen Cemetery, and his ten year leadership of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, etc.]

David McConaughy-65

One thing which really struck me when I first read the 1866 Pennsylvania School Journal article was its glowing praise of what we now call the “Gettysburg Address,” the statement that “it has already passed into our recently published school speakers,” and its earnest prodding that teachers should make their students memorize it. There are many historians who believe that the Gettysburg Address wasn’t widely embraced until much later when the cult of Lincoln had firmly taken root. This article suggests that many Pennsylvania teachers began emphasizing it in their classrooms relatively shortly after it was delivered — which might have occurred elsewhere too (e.g., this article was republished in the Oct. 1866 Rhode Island Schoolmaster journal). Having attended the moving 150th anniversary event at the Gettysburg National Cemetery in 2013, I have experienced the power of historical recreation. To have experienced Gettysburg in such a way in 1866 must have been quite an experience for anyone the least bit interested in American history. With all due respect to the undeniable talents of the recently deceased and beloved James A. Getty (may he rest in peace), the sincerity of Lincoln’s words narrated in the cemetery by a soldier/schoolteacher who had less than 3 years earlier witnessed Lincoln speak must have been even more powerfully conveyed and felt in 1866 than is possible today.

As for John Burns serving as one of the guides during the State Teachers’ Association visit, it wasn’t the only time he did such a thing. “Without realizing it, perhaps, the battle’s ‘civilian hero’ helped inaugurate a unique, distinctly individualistic, and somewhat lucrative occupation for some Gettysburg citizens” — serving as a battlefield guide. Bloom, Robert L., “‘We Never Expected a Battle’: The Civilians at Gettysburg, 1863,” Pennsylvania History, Vol. 55, No. 4 (October 1988) at p. 190.

Epilogue

Major Henry T. Lee’s 1866 description of Lincoln’s  consecration address compares favorably with an even more contemporary account by another educator. Isaac Jackson Allen, a Whig, was the former president of Farmer’s College near Cincinnati and superintendent of that city’s school system before the war began. [I.J. Allen pictured below in 1901, aged 87, from Shotwell, John B., A History of the Schools of Cincinnati (1902)]:

Isaac Jackson Allen p86 in 1901 age 87

For a portion of the war, Isaac Jackson Allen was the editor of the Daily Ohio State Journal of Columbus, OH. He was in Gettysburg as a journalist on November 19, 1863 because:

“Governor David Tod, of Ohio, invited me to join him as a member of his Staff, pro tempore; to this I assented, as that would give me the privilege of a seat on the platform at Gettysburgh.  When there, I was seated near Mr. Lincoln, with whom were seated members of his Cabinet.”[18]

Isaac Jackson Allen reported the following in the November 23, 1863 edition of the Daily Ohio State Journal [emphasis added]:

“President Lincoln rose to deliver the Dedicatory Address. Instantly every eye was fixed and every voice hushed in expectant and respectful attention … The President’s calm but earnest utterance of this brief and beautiful address stirred the deepest fountains of feeling and emotion in the hearts of the vast throng before him; and, when he had concluded, scarcely could an untearful eye be seen, while sobs of smothered emotion were heard on every hand. At our side stood a stout stalwart officer, bearing the insignia of a captain’s rank, the empty sleeve of his coat indicating that he had stood where death was revelling [sic], and as the President, speaking of our Gettysburg soldiers, uttered that beautifully touching sentence, so sublime and pregnant of meaning —

‘The world will little note, nor long remember what we here SAY, but it can never forget what they here DID:’ [sic] —

The gallant soldier’s feelings burst over all restraint; and burrying [sic] his face in his manly frame shook with no unmanly emotion. In a few moments, with a stern struggle to master his emotions, he lifted his still streaming eyes to heaven and in low and solemn tones exclaimed, “God Almighty bless Abraham Lincoln!” And to this spontaneous invocation a thousand hearts around him silently responded, Amen!

In 1904, Allen further elaborated upon Lincoln’s performance:

“Then President Lincoln rose to deliver the Address of Dedication; advanced to the reading desk, put on his steel-rimmed spectacles, took from his vest pocket a thin slip of paper, laid it before him, glanced at it a moment; then, as if not able to see its writing very well, he crumpled it in his hand, returned it to his vest pocket, removed his spectacles, and proceeded to deliver that ever-memorable Dedicatory Address that has become a classic in our American literature, and which of itself would render the name of Abraham Lincoln immortal! He spoke but seven minutes.  But, before he had spoken five minutes that whole assembled multitude were sobbing, and sympathetic tears were dimming all eyes.  Lincoln’s simple eloquence of heart in speaking of our heroic dead had touched the responsive cords [of] feeling, that Everett’s finished oratory had failed to reach.”[19]

 

By Craig Heberton, October 3, 2015

————————————————————————————————————

[1] This account is based upon and quotes from “Thirteenth Annual Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association,” Pennsylvania School Journal, September 1866, vol.15, No. 3, pp. 58-60. It imagines that you are one of the attendees at the session meeting and you have written at least the quoted sections from the above-cited article. I have taken the liberty of describing you as a veteran of the 45th Pennsylvania Regiment who after the war has returned to your job somewhere in Pennsylvania as a schoolteacher. All of the quoted language in this article relating to the Thirteenth Annual Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association held in Gettysburg on July 31 and August 2, 1866 is from the published piece in the Pennsylvania School Journal, Vol.15, No. 3 (September 1866) first noted below in footnote 6 unless otherwise indicated.

[2] “You” are a fictitious character throughout this piece whom I have created in the attempt to place the reader into the shoes of a schoolteacher attendee at the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association Session in Gettysburg on July 31 and August 1, 1866. You are there primarily to see the battlefield and understand all of the hoopla over its fame. While there, you meet and speak to Rev. Henry L. Baugher, President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg who gave the closing benediction on the speakers’ stand seconds after Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address;” John L. Burns (the “Hero of Gettysburg”) who likewise was present at the dedication event and walked arm-in-arm with President Lincoln to Gettysburg’s Presbyterian Church after the dedication ceremonies and a public reception at David Wills’ home;  Colonel George Fisher McFarland, who was wounded at Gettysburg on July 1 while covering the First Corps’ retreat and had one of his legs amputated in the halls of the Lutheran Theological Seminary; and Major Henry T. Lee who both served at the Battle of Gettysburg under Doubleday and attended the Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery Dedication event on November 19, 1863. Burns, McFarland, and Lee, among others, serve as your guides, taking you to some of the most dramatic portions of the battlefield and they describe to you what they saw and experienced. On Cemetery Hill, standing in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Maj. Lee paints a picture of Lincoln’s address and then reads it in the way he recalls that Lincoln did less than 3 years earlier. Some of what you experience faintly echoes elements of the Gettysburg Cemetery Dedication event. It is a close as you will ever come to having been in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863.

[3] Perhaps there really was a member of the 45th Pennsylvania Regiment who survived the war, took a job as a teacher, and attended the Gettysburg Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association held on July 31 to August 1, 1866. However, I’m not aware of such a person. If you do know of someone, by all means, let me know!

[4] Burrows, Thomas H., ed., “Thirteenth Annual Session of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association,” Pennsylvania School Journal, Vol.15, No. 3 (September 1866) at p. 51.

[5] History of Cumberland County and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania (Beers & Co., 1886) at p. 372.

[6] Pennsylvania School Journal, Vol.15, No. 3 (September 1866) at pp. 51-52; Shelley was an advocate of the use of paying teacher incentives to reward quality teaching. See Wickersham, J.P., A History of Education in Pennsylvania, Private and Public Schools (1868) at pp. 8-9.

[7]  Cincinnati Daily Commercial, November 24, 1863.

[8] Baugher’s benediction read: “O Thou King of kings and Lord of lords, God of the nations of the earth, who by Thy kind providence has permitted us to engage in these solemn services, grant us Thy blessing. Bless this consecrated ground, and these holy graves. Bless the President of these United States, and his Cabinet. Bless the Governors and the representatives of the States here assembled with all needed grace to conduct the affairs committed into their hands, to the glory of Thy name, and the greatest good of the people. May this great nation be delivered from treason and rebellion at home, and from the power of enemies abroad. And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Heavenly Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

[9] Not only had McFarland lost his leg, but his other wounded leg caused him great pain. It is presumed that he was transported about by horse-drawn carriage.

[10] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15909351; http://berks.pa-roots.com/Biographies/GeorgeFMcFarland.html

[11] Eventually, the wound received in his unamputated leg caused an infection which killed him in 1891. For more on the 151st Pennsylvania, see http://www.civilwar.org/education/teachers/teachers-regiment/trading-rulers-for-rifles.html.

[12] “Colonel McFarland’s Diary Reveals War-School Career,” Gettysburg Times, June 27, 1941; Deese, Michael A., The 151st Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg: Like Ripe Apples in a Storm at p. 6. For ideas related to teaching about McFarland, see http://www.gettysburglessons.com/blog/george-mcfarland-narrow-your-focus.

[13] McFarland, George F., “The Victory at Gettysburg, the Work of the Teacher,” The Pennsylvania School Journal (October 1866) at pp. 95-96.

[14] https://www.facebook.com/pages/151st-Pennsylvania-Volunteers-Company-D/138961739475266?sk=wall (July 23, 2014 entry on Capt. Owens).

[15] Captain Owens took command of the 151st Pennsylvania after Lt. Colonel McFarland was wounded and later captured. He maintained that command throughout the remaining days of the battle. “Colonel McFarland’s Diary Reveals War-School Career,” Gettysburg Times, June 27, 1941. The 151st was involved in repulsing “Pickett’s Charge” on the final day of battle and surely Captain Owen spoke about what he experienced near the Bloody Angle.

[16] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=103257557

[17] Major Lee must have been present in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 in his capacity as an aide on the staff of the then wounded Gen. Abner Doubleday. Doubleday was one of several wounded generals at Gettysburg who attended the dedication event. Lee “was never wounded” during the war, “but at Sutherland’s Station he received seven bullet-holes through his clothing.”

[18] Allen, Isaac Jackson. Memoranda Genealogical and Biographical Of the Allen Family (1904) at p. 25.

[19] http://www.jacksonfamilygenealogy.com/pages/bioIsaacJacksonAllenmemorandum.htm

“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).

Bachrach-Burns-02

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).

Bachrach-Burns-01ycompareLC

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 www.pbs.org, placed side-by-side with detail from a Library of Congress scan (at right).

Bachrach-Burns-04aLCx

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.”

object07639uIDsx1

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

Photographer Anthony Berger in Gettysburg on July 15, 1863

14 Jul

Anthony Berger, David Woodbury and possibly at least one other Mathew Brady assistant photographed several of the best known scenes of the Civil War on the battlefields of Gettysburg 151 years ago. To see some of those images and to read about Anthony Berger’s role in creating them, go to:

https://abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/chewing-on-a-berger-part-i/

 

by Craig Heberton, July 14, 2014

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 (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2012649238/):

DBWoodbury33170uLC2

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:

Washington

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 3, 2013

CONTACT:

Judy Ault

WMI Books

1-888-490-0100

WMIbooks.com

lincolnatgettysburg@gmail.com

https://abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress.com/

SHOULD OAKLEY’S LINCOLN SIT DOWN?  CIVIL WAR AUTHOR CRAIG HEBERTON CASTS DOUBT ON THE PROFESSOR’S FINDINGS

 

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 https://abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress.com/ 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:

https://abrahamlincolnatgettysburg.wordpress.com/

Facebook and Twitter:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abraham-Lincoln-at-Gettysburg/338089372973741

https://twitter.com/WMIbooks

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg:

A Review of Alexander Gardner’s Stereoscopic Photos:

http://www.amazon.com/Abraham-Lincoln-at-Gettysburg-ebook/dp/B00AEY2HWQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1357345561&sr=8-3&keywords=heberton

October 2013 Smithsonian Magazine Article:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Will-the-Real-Abraham-Lincoln-Please-Stand-Up-224911272.html#the-new-lincoln-photo-1.jpg