Exhibitions/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Artist:
Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882)
Printer:
Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
Publisher:
Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
Date:
July 1863
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 17.8 × 22.5 cm (7 × 8 7/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.1201
Not on view
This photograph of the rotting dead awaiting burial after the Battle of Gettysburg is perhaps the best-known Civil War landscape. It was published in Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1866), the nation’s first anthology of photographs. The Sketch Book features ten photographic plates of Gettysburg—eight by Timothy H. O’Sullivan, who served as a field operator for Alexander Gardner, and two by Gardner himself. The extended caption that accompanies this photograph is among Gardner’s most poetic: "It was, indeed, a ‘harvest of death.’ . . . Such a picture conveys a useful moral: It shows the blank horror and reality of war, in opposition to its pageantry. Here are the dreadful details! Let them aid in preventing such another calamity falling upon the nation."
Alfred R. Waud Collection; [Rinhart Galleries, Inc., New York, October 8, 1976]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

Plate 36 in Volume 1 of Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. This print is accompanied by the descriptive text page from Gardner's Sketchbook.
Related Objects

Quartermaster and Ambulance Camp, 6th Corps, Brandy Station, Virginia

Artist: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882) Date: 1861–65 Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative Accession: 33.65.233 On view in:Not on view

Quartermaster and Ambulance Camp, Brandy Station, Virginia

Artist: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882) Date: 1861–65 Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative Accession: 33.65.258 On view in:Not on view

Brandy Station, Virginia

Artist: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882) Date: 1863–64 Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative Accession: 33.65.257 On view in:Not on view

Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Battery B, Petersburg, Virginia

Artist: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882) Date: 1864 Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative Accession: 33.65.241 On view in:Not on view

The Crack Team of the 1st Division, 6th Corps near Hazel River, Virginia

Artist: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882) Date: 1861–65 Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative Accession: 33.65.245 On view in:Not on view