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[Grand Army Review, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington]

Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)

Date:
May 23 or 24, 1865
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
8.8 × 9.9 cm (3 7/16 × 3 7/8 in.), irregularly trimmed
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.1193
  • Description

    On May 23 and 24, 1865, two weeks after the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, was taken prisoner in Georgia, more than 150,000 jubilant soldiers marched up Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the Grand Army Review. To the sounds of bands playing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," the armies of the Potomac, Tennessee, and Georgia were feted in a victory parade to celebrate the end of the war. Traveling from the newly completed Capitol (seen in the distance) to the main reviewing stand in front of the Executive Mansion, row after row of men passed before Alexander Gardner's stereoscopic camera, positioned just above the heads of the crowd.
    Posted opposite the Willard Hotel, today still standing at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street, Gardner and several assistants worked to document the event with relatively fast, small plate cameras. The resulting views, in which the soldiers and horses are blurred, were taken from the spectators' level rather than from an ideal vantage point, thus anticipating by twenty years the contingent look of street photography made with hand-held cameras. Statistics would later reveal that four times the number of men who marched in the Grand Army Review had died in the war.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed, verso: "Gardner"

  • Provenance

    Frederick Hill Meserve Collection; [Paul Katz, North Bennington, Vermont, March 29, 1984]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

283204

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