Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, born Ireland, 1840–1882)
Alexander Gardner (American, Glasgow, Scotland 1821–1882 Washington, D.C.)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
17.8 x 22.7 cm (7 x 8 15/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005
Not on view
This photograph of the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg appears in the two-volume opus Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War (1865-66). Gardner's publication is egalitarian. Offended by Brady's habit of obscuring the names of his field operators behind the deceptive credit "Brady," Gardner specifically identified each of the eleven photographers in the publication; forty-four of the one hundred photographs are credited to Timothy O'Sullivan. Gardner titled the plate Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Battlefield of Gettysburg. But the photograph, its commemorative title notwithstanding, relates a far more common story: six Union soldiers lie dead, face up, stomachs bloated, their pockets picked and boots stolen. As Gardner described the previous plate, aptly titled The Harvest of Death, this photograph conveys "the blank horror and reality of war, in opposition to its pageantry."
Inscription: Printed mount recto, BL, BC, and BR: "Negative by T.H. O'SULLIVAN. Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1865, by A. GARDNER, in the Clerk's Office of the District of Columbia. Positive by A. GARDNER, 511 7th St., Washington. // Incidents of the War. // FIELD WHERE GEN. REYNOLDS FELL, GETTYSBURG. // Published by PHILIP & SOLOMONS, Washington. // July, 1863."
[Graphics International, Ltd.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, February 15, 1979
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "On Photography: A Tribute to Susan Sontag," June 6, 2006–September 4, 2006.
Naef, Weston J., and James Wood. Era of Exploration: The Rise of Landscape Photography in the American West, 1860–1885. Buffalo: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1975. no. 146.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 108.