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 (1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/4/2021 9:30:45 PM
I've spent hundreds of hours looking for this site and rejected scores of sites along the way because I found something wrong. I can't find any reason to reject this site. I'm not trying to prove this is the site... I can't do that with these Google Earth Street View (copyright, 2021) frames. The street view camera is not in the right place. The HOD view is especially problematic. The street view camera is nowhere near where Gibson's camera was. The SV camera was too high and too far forward. That's going to make the foreground completely wacky. The geometry and proportions are all wrong, although the background is not too bad..

I'm just trying to arouse enough interest to get this site investigated. It will have to be by someone who is at least an advanced amateur photographer (as I am) who understands focal lengths, angles, perspective, parallax.

I propose the modern view shows a preserved section of the old Mummasburg Road next to a rerouted section of the modern Mummasburg Road, just below the Forney Farmhouse site. I've overlaid sections of Gibson's stereograph (right lens) on a modern Google Earth Street View.

The marks are wheel ruts worn into the stony ground or the regolith and these ruts remain recognizable on this old section of road. There are deep wheel ruts and islands of unworn stone between them. There are many sites in the U.S. where 19th century wheel ruts worn into stone can be still seen; notably on the Oregon Trail route.

It turns out that there are enduring stony features in this Gibson stereograph, which can be matched to this modern view. By fitting these sections of the photo so that surface features on the road align, I've corrected for the slant of Gibson's camera. The camera Gibson used did not have the capability to adjust to tilt. It was a studio camera: just a flat bottomed box, really. It would sit on a table or on a four legged, flat topped platform on a level studio floor. In the field ot probably sat on a flat topped wooden tripod. It was not a modern camera on a modern adjustable tripod. The camera was on a slope, so the camera was tilted - rotated clockwise to Gibson's viewpoint behind the camera.

Not the camera Gibson used, but one like it. Just a flat bottomed box.


A reproduction. A flat bottomed box sitting on a flat platform.


My proposed camera position for the Gibson stereograph is here. Clearly on a slope. A slope that is higher to Gibson's left and lower to his right, just as the road is. Thus a camera that is tilting to the right. If the camera is tilting the same way the road is tilting... the road looks level,


The W next to the farmhouse and the barn stand for "wood" btw. Buildings made of wood. If I'm right, the barn would have been just out of frame on the right in the HOD view.

The result of correcting for the camera tilt: The members of the burial detail are now standing straight, rather than leaning oddly to out left. More importantly Oak Hill is more recognizable, although it was altered when The Peace Light was constructed.

I'd be grateful if everyone would spend a few minutes to look at these overlays I've made and tell me what you think. (Full disclosure: I'm uploading new overlays. The first ones were a bit off. I now realize that Oak Hill was altered when they built the Peace Light, especially on the stretch of Confederate Ave. on our right.)

Please look at the features on the road most of all. Look at the area where the men are standing on the road in front of the fruit tree..


















We can see that these men are lying on an embankment above the Mummasburg Road. Some of them are lying in the Mummasburg Road.

Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/4/2021 9:40:39 PM
I have also made a couple of YT videos. I hope people find my presentation convincing.

https://youtu.be/-6J0Tn4SqAk


https://youtu.be/abCYXG-yxWg
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 3:06:07 AM
Ed,

Welcome !

What a significant development this is.

For the last forty years or so, I’ve always accepted Frassanito’s contention that these were federal dead in the Peach Orchard sector, identifiable by the III Corps insignia and the peach trees just about visible.

Now I’m not so sure.

It must have taken a very strong stomach to photograph these poor yankees, victims of the first day’s fight. How many days had they lain in that heat ? It was bad enough elsewhere : but up there the condition of those bodies must have been unspeakable.

I promise to visit your YouTube video, and I suspect that it will convince me.

If memory serves me, didn’t the original captions to the photos state that they were from the first day of the battle ?

Looking forward to discussing this with you,

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 9:02:59 AM
Yes, there were several titles given to the 5 (?) different photos which depict this scene.

The stereograph version of A Harvest of Death plate is titled - Evidence of How Severe the Contest Had Been on the Right


Plate 37 in Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War is titled - Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Gettysburg


The O'Sullivan stereograph of this view (without the men of the burial detail) is titled - Bodies of Federal Soldiers, Killed on July 1, Near the McPherson Woods

The Gibson stereograph of this view (with the men of the burial detail) is titled - Federal Dead on the Field of Battle of First Day, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


My TENTATIVE (and I wish I could write the word tentative in letters as big as those on a billboard) of these men is - 16th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment


Company A of the 16th is shown in this half tintype wearing what appear to me to be frock coats "just prior to Gettysburg." http://www.mainelegacy.com/45.html

I have reason to believe that the men in the 1863 photos were armed with Enfields because (I THINK) I see an Enfield bayonet, scabbard and frog on the belt of one man, and just the frog on the belt of another. We know that the 16th Maine was armed with Enfields at the time.

Also the 16th fought in this field below Oak Hill before falling back to their last stand position on Oak Ridge.

I have reason to believe that the men in the 1863 photo were moved at some time before the photo was taken because the marks of lividity (livor mortis) don't match with the positions they are lying in. One possibility is that they were moved here from another area of the field. They were moved here to the road to be picked up by wagons. The men of the burial detail are waiting for wagons to show up. The dead will be placed in the wagons and the burial detail will ride on the wagons to some other area, probably on the other side of Oak Ridge, and bury these men there.

I want to emphasize that everything I say is not a conclusion. I'm not an expert, and I'm very fallible. I intend this to be the beginning of the discussion, not the end. I want to get the opinions of others, and I'm completely flexible on everything.

For example, I'd like to get the opinion of a forensic pathologist on the livor mortis issue, a geologist on the matter of the geology of Oak Hill, experts in bladed weapons on the bayonet issue, etc.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 113
Joined: 2020
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 1:17:59 PM
Mr. Ed B,

Thank you, unique & very interesting approach & analysis. beautiful use of a much overlooked resource i'd say.
Cant find any real disagreement at first look, seem to match up well together.

Phil,
you know i think, that the 18-19th century world were rough, less civil, much less Hygienic places, guess that dead animals & people were far more normal than today and especially
that farm boy soldiers had witnessed and experienced death in normal life. about a third of children died before adulthood. And high number of women in child birth.

Although, i am not saying they would not be shocked & sicken by war experience.

Ed B, Thanks,
Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 2:30:29 PM
Ed ,

You certainly convince me ! You're discernment is matched by your humility. I think your observations and comments about the lie of the land are incontestable.

I am surprised at the condition of the bodies : bloated, but recognisable. Not as bad as I would have thought. Might it be that only the recognisable were gathered here for collection ?

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
GregT
Three Rivers MA USA
Posts: 137
Joined: 2013
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 3:59:55 PM
Ed

Do you have a match-up of the identical bodies taken from the almost opposite direction?

GregT
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/5/2021 10:44:49 PM
I see no sign of a road in the 1863 photo. Would an active road have the same surface, what appears to be trampled crops, as the adjacent fields? I would expect it to be dirt. What may look like old ruts doesn't necessarily make a road.
Why do you describe the individuals in the photo as leaning oddly left. They appear to be standing perfectly upright to me, referencing a copy of the image in "Early Photography at Gettysburg", without any shifting of the photo. Shifting the angle of the original also tends to distort the background.
Also, what about the companion view taken in a different direction? Both are usually displayed and analyzed as a set. Does it support your proposed site?
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 12:09:51 AM
GregT:

William Frassanito was the first to note that these are the same men from different angles.

I don't know who first drew this overhead schematic - Frassanito or Garry Adleman, but I adapted it by erasing some confusing pencil lines and substituting color arrows. Green is HOD and red is what I'm calling the Oak Hill View. I overlayed the color arrows on the original pencil marks indicating the center view of the camera, but I think it's a bit off.



I also want to correct what I said in my Oak Hill View Video about the camera position and the center of the camera view. This is closer. It's a bit misleading if you don't look at it carefully. The overhead schematic is more easily understood.


Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 12:34:40 AM
Jim Cameron:

"I see no sign of a road in the 1863 photo." If you look at my videos you might change your mind. It's hard to see at first.

"Would an active road have the same surface, what appears to be trampled crops, as the adjacent fields?" This is a legitimate point which I have pondered at length.

-First, John Forney reported that he had three grain crops growing on his farm - wheat, oats and timothy grass. So which - if any - of these do we see in these 1863 photos? My money is on timothy grass; but that's a very fragile opinion.
-How much "grass" or grain stalks do we really see on the road? There's a danger when looking at these photos of slipping into Rorschach Test territory.
-How many loose grain stalks in the soil may have been spread onto the road surface because of all the foot traffic? Fourth,
-Who's to say there wasn't some grass growing on the surface of the road especially on the islands between the ruts.? Animal hooves don't kill the grass between the ruts on a dirt roads.; only the wheels do.
- It doesn't take much soil for grass to take root. Everyone has seen grass growing up through seams in concrete and blacktop surfaces. Some old driveways look almost like a lawn.
-I'm proposing that this surface is regolith, which is weathered bedrock. Regolith can be friable. So the surface may have had a layer of the material eroded from regolith. And would certainly be full of cracks, seams and grooves.
-The current surface of the road has grass growing on it, but I'm will to bet that this is a very thin layer of soil.
-In time I'm hoping that real experts will address this issue.

"Why do you describe the individuals in the photo as leaning oddly left. They appear to be standing perfectly upright to me..."

That the original photo is tilted has been a settled issue for a long time; long before I came along. Follow this link to a 2015 MB post on civilwartalk.com.
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/a-different-perspective-on-gettysburgs-harvest-of-death-photo.116968/

But I'll post the photos here, anyway.

Original


The leveled photo - (Someone else did this correction, years ago.)









Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 1:06:24 AM
There's an additional bit of evidence. Garry Adelman has spoken many times about efforts to identify the trees on the crestline. Especially the tress (poplars?) that have a gap between them.


The red line marks the center view of the camera.



This is a portion of a map which was published in 1876, but was based on a map produced by Gouverneur K. Warren (of Little Roundtop fame) in (I think!) 1867. The Red line again represents the center view of the camera. The blue line shows the compass point.




What I believe to be the same trees I labeled on the map. Note: We see A as one tree, but because of the angle, we don't see the gap between them. I've labeled both trees "A" on the map.


Note that the 1867(?) map shows that this section of Oak Hill is an orchard. The orchard that was still being planted in the 1863 photo(?).

Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 5:55:27 AM
Quote:

Phil,
you know i think, that the 18-19th century world were rough, less civil, much less Hygienic places, guess that dead animals & people were far more normal than today and especially
that farm boy soldiers had witnessed and experienced death in normal life. about a third of children died before adulthood. And high number of women in child birth.

Although, i am not saying they would not be shocked & sicken by war experience.


You're absolutely right, of course, Mike.

Here's what Robert Stiles, a confederate soldier, wrote about the condition of the dead along the Chambesburg Pike, on 4 July. He was describing the corpses from the first day's fighting, and this would have been at least one day - maybe two - before those photos were taken...

The sights and smells that assailed us were simply indescribable- corpses swollen to twice their original size, some of them actually burst asunder with the pressure of foul gases and vapors..........The odors were nauseating , and so deadly that in a short time we all sickened and were lying with our mouths close to the ground, most of us vomiting profusely.

Shocked and sickened indeed, despite their greater inurement to these realities than our sheltered lives afford us.

You can appreciate my comments about the relatively recognisable features of the dead in the photos, and, I feel bound to say, the apparent equanimity of the men standing and surveying the scene.

The preponderance of the battlefield dead photographed at Antietam and Gettysburg were confederates. This makes the scene in the photos all the more remarkable. Perhaps, in order to protect the sensibilities of the Northern public, only the yankee dead in a less advanced state of putrefaction were photographed. If, as Ed suggests, they were collected here for removal, their identifiable features might have secured them a more decent interment.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 7:10:52 AM
Ed,

What do you make of Frassanito's observation that there is a diamond shaped III Corps insignia clearly visible on a garment close to the dead soldier with his right arm thrown over his head ?

Are the dead soldiers wearing frock coats or the more widely issued shell jackets ?

The terraine matches perfectly with the features of the Mummasburg Road, but the bodies and their condition, and accoutrements, make a bewildering challenge.

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 8:50:20 AM
Phil Andrade

"What do you make of Frassanito's observation that there is a diamond shaped III Corps insignia clearly visible on a garment close to the dead soldier with his right arm thrown over his head"?

We have the benefit of being able to see high resolution scans. It clearly isn't a Third Corp diamond. The empty coat is lying in a pothole on the Mummasburg Road. The coat is lying over, and is propped up by, the straps of a Model 1853 tarred canvas knapsack. The knapsack itself is visible on the ground, with the straps leaking out from beneath the edge of the coat. One man's diamond is another man's square. This is just a square piece of paper propped up on the straps of the knapsack. Or more likely, I think, it's a rectangular piece of paper trapped between the coat and the straps, and just a square segment of it is showing. The area is littered with what I take to be white paper boxes. I think this a torn off panel of a white paper box, It is shining in the sunlight, through the thin overcast. But it's clearly not a patch of cloth sewn onto a garment of any kind. The coat is crumpled but the diamond patch it is sewn onto is not crumpled? And it would have to be huge. And it is below the coat, not on it, Etc.

I'll have to make another video about this, and about other things to be seen in these photos. For example that same dead soldier has a bayonet, scabbard and frog. The type of bayonet used on an Enfield.


I'm going to recommend the best scans I have found. If someone knows of better, please tell us.

The J. Paul Getty Museum
A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Downloads a sepia tone image. Two versions are available. The “cropped” version is the better.

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/58082/timothy-h-o'sullivan-print-by-alexander-gardner-a-harvest-of-death-gettysburg-pennsylvania-american-july-4-1863/



Battlefield of Gettysburg. Bodies of dead Federal soldiers on the field of the first day's battle. A download from the LOC. Choose the TIFF (124.2MB).


https://www.loc.gov/item/2012647835/






Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 11:03:28 AM
Quote:
Ed,

What do you make of Frassanito's observation that there is a diamond shaped III Corps insignia clearly visible on a garment close to the dead soldier with his right arm thrown over his head ?



Phil,

That did come in for a good deal of comment, in conjunction with proposed sites in the 3rd Corps sector, because an identifiable Corps badge would certainly help narrow the search area.
What it might actually be, however, is reflection off a tin cartridge box insert. The darker, open portion can just be made out in the companion image. Hard to be 100% certain, but they were common enough, and there appear to be others visible on the ground.

Jim
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 11:28:18 AM
Ed,
I'm not sure the 16th ME, or for that matter, any other Union infantry, was engaged out that far along the Mummasburg Road. And if not, where would the bodies have come from? The sheer number suggests fairly heavy action.

If the photo shows bodies placed in the road waiting to be placed in wagons to be moved elsewhere, why does the photo show several men with shovels, clearly in the act of digging? The dead were generally just dragged to the nearest suitable ground. Typically, the sort of fields they were already in. Is there any documentation of use of wagons, which were probably in short supply once the army had moved on, to move the dead?

I still don't see the road. The "road" surface looks no different than the rest of the fields. Honestly, I think that you're indulging in too much in the way of rationalization to explain why.
Likewise, the trees labeled A, B, C, and D on the map are unlikely to represent actual, specific trees, but are more likely generic representations of trees within a wood lot or tree line, the majority of which are indistinguishable in a distant photo. Very typical of how maps were rendered.

Still, by the way, waiting for your analysis of the companion view. Because unless they both support the proposed location, then it doesn't work.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/6/2021 11:03:31 PM
"What it might actually be, however, is reflection off a tin cartridge box insert. The darker, open portion can just be made out in the companion image. Hard to be 100% certain, but they were common enough, and there appear to be others visible on the ground."
Well done. That's why I want to get help with this. I didn't know such a thing existed.

-About the road surface and the HOD view... I'll link to my videos again. I address both points at length in the two videos.

https://youtu.be/-6J0Tn4SqAk

https://youtu.be/abCYXG-yxWg

Perhaps you'll be able to picture the scene better if you watch these videos about 19th century wheel ruts worn in stone.
https://youtu.be/QRSBJc3uHXI

https://youtu.be/J1I4bc1XV14



- Why did they carry the bodies up slope? I'm thinking perhaps they carried these men up the slope past the end of a fence line. Once past the end of the fence, they had access to the road. It probably wasn't that far. The fence ends to give access to the Forney Farmhouse which is just a few yards farther up this slope.

The bodies in A Harvest of Death are, by and large, facing up slope or down slope. Do men conveniently fall straight back or straight forward when falling wounded? But what about two men carrying a body up a slope? It's natural that one man leads and the other follows up the slope; and then you put your man down in the same position.

And the one fallen soldier with the blanket draped over one leg? A bit strange to fall in battle that way. If someone draped a blanket over their dying comrade... would it be over one leg? But what if that were the blanket that he was carried on? It was then carelessly tossed aside and landed there, draped across one leg.


No one is digging in this photo. This man is posing for the camera with one foot on his spade, bracing himself against the slope. Despite photography being a rare thing, I think it was common knowledge that one must hold still for a photograph. That's what he's doing; standing in a stable position for the camera.



These two men, btw?


It's actually just one man in a kind of double exposure. He was standing with both feet together. You can see that he was straining to hold still against the slope with a bowed posture. Perhaps he thought that was a dignified pose. But halfway through the long exposure in the muted sunshine he was forced to move his left foot to find a more secure foothold against the slope. This man has dropped his shovel on the ground, btw. You can see it lying on the top surface of an island of stone between ruts, about eight feet in front of him.

Two other men are leaning on their implements with one outstretched hand, the way an 18th century fop would lean on his stick. Probably, again, their idea of a dignified pose. Portraiture was a serious business at the time. People didn't smile at the camera until cheaper and more common photography came along years later.

Recall the dignified poses of those three Confederate prisoners. It was serious business.

So why are they carting the bodies away? Civil War soldiers were buried where they fell... except in an area of thin soil over a hard regolith surface.

These men of the burial detail - (I'm speculating!) - are waiting for wagons. They'll ride with the bodies, or walk alongside, and use their implements to dig in kinder soil. Probably didn't want to bury Union dead in or near the mass graves for Iverson's men, so - I'm thinking - they may have carted them across Oak Ridge.


Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 2:30:39 AM
Mention of the blanket draped over the leg of one of the dead soldiers suggests that the blanket might have been used as a means of conveyance.

The postures of the dead - the positioning of the arms in particular - brings to my mind the story of the aftermath of a battle that was fought in France fifty three years later.

British soldiers in WW1 wore “gas capes” - an enveloping outer garment . In a recent battlefield excavation to recover bodies from a mass grave where hundreds of Australian and British dead had been interred by the Germans, a number of brass buttons were found on or near the surface.
The Germans, loathe to handle the decomposing dead, had used the gas capes to drag the dead along the ground, and the buttons from them had detached and left a trail which was discernible in 2007 when the graves were opened and the bodies exhumed for internment in a new cemetery.

Had these dead Union soldiers been dragged along the ground ?

Frock coats would have been useful, just as the British Gas capes had been in July 1916. No frock coats apparent in the photos, though.

Regards, Phil

----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 10:48:58 AM
https://youtu.be/QRSBJc3uHXI

https://youtu.be/J1I4bc1XV14


Some frames from one of the videos I have recommended. I hope this will help everyone picture what I'm talking about. I recommend these two videos on their own merit.


Deep rut





"Pointy-canoe" shape at one end of an island of stone between ruts.





Shallow rut



The author of these videos has gotten some pushback. People have told him that these aren't wheel ruts. But they are.





GregT
Three Rivers MA USA
Posts: 137
Joined: 2013
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 11:04:42 AM
Ed

Have you reached out to Adelman for an opinion?
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 11:15:11 AM
He's a busy man, and he gets scores of people trying to contact him everyday. So, yes I have, but I understand why there's been no response so far.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 12:12:43 PM
Quote:
He's a busy man, and he gets scores of people trying to contact him everyday. So, yes I have, but I understand why there's been no response so far.


Actually, I was on a Zoom meeting hosted by Gary, on Gettysburg photography, at about the same time you posted your photos. Saw them when I logged on to MHO immediately after. And in fact, he did mention what sounded like your proposed location, since he specifically referred to the shifted image.
Not to put words in his mouth, I think it fair to say he was not supportive of your interpretation.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 12:59:54 PM
"No one is digging in this photo. This man is posing for the camera with one foot on his spade, bracing himself against the slope. Despite photography being a rare thing, I think it was common knowledge that one must hold still for a photograph. That's what he's doing; standing in a stable position for the camera."

Of course they're not digging. As you say, they're paused, in deference to the camera crew and the exposure time. But they have shovels at the ready, and are surrounded by dead bodies. They're a burial party.

As far as the soil being too thin, if it was thick enough for farmer Forney to plow and plant his crops, it was thick enough for the typical hasty, just get them covered over, burials of a CW battlefield.

"These two men, btw?
It's actually just one man in a kind of double exposure."

Doesn't look like a double exposure to me. The guy on the right looks almost a head shorter than the one on the left.

"That the original photo is tilted has been a settled issue for a long time; long before I came along. Follow this link to a 2015 MB post on civilwartalk.com.
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/a-different-perspective-on-gettysburgs-harvest-of-death-photo.116968/"

I checked the link, but aside from the original poster's contention that the camera was tilted, found nothing that makes this a "settled issue." It's simply his opinion. I honestly fail to see how the original image has everybody leaning oddly to the left. They look fine to me.
In fact, the so called "correction" to the image manages to have them, if anything, leaning slightly to the right. More seriously, in terms of interpretation of the original image, the way you have spliced a narrow slice of the "corrected" image into the "now" image effectively distorts the distant slope.

With all due respect, I think you need to keep looking.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 5:38:50 PM
Well, I'll have to give him more information then.

I didn't tell him about the trees and the map... because I just made it. Adelman does think that the trees on the map are labeled accurately and he has spent many an hour trying to find those trees on maps.

He didn't look at my videos.

He didn't see the labeled sections photos above... because I just made them.

I didn't just haphazardly paste the sections onto the Google Street View frame. I matched the continuity of surface features at the borders of the sections with exquisite care, it took days to do this. That's how the sections came to be tilted. It happened naturally, and it matches very closely, but not precisely, the corrected version from 2015. If you haven't watched my video yet, please don't dismiss my presentation.

The tilt of the sections is not a way to shoehorn the 1863 photo into the Oak Hill view; it's vital. I've seen the other most famous attempts to find this site... and they've all been looking at level ground. A fundamental mistake. Until one recognizes that these men are standing on a road with a considerable slope, the site is always going to remain elusive. Not to mention that these men are not Third Corp and this really is a scene on the first day battlefield, and it really is on the Union right on the first day battlefield.

Just to ask... Did you really look at the labeled photos I posted this morning? I mean really look at them. Please make an effort to see the ruts on the road; the shapes, the continuity of the features between sections. Surface features and surface lines seamlessly continue at the borders between the sections. Really. I promise. Not just on the road. The mounds the fruit trees are/were growing in. Features on the slope of Oak Hill.

Did you seek out the Wagon Rut videos I recommended? The author of these videos has gotten push back himself. People don't even believe what he's showing are wagons ruts worn in stone. They've never heard of such a thing. They take a glance at what he's showing and dismiss what he's saying. "Nah.! There's no such thing."

About the conjoined twins... I mean the "double exposure." This is a common thing to see in wet plate photography, here and in Europe. People appear twice. A person held a steady position long enough to produce a clear image... moved... and held a new steady position long enough to produce another clear image.

Okay, the conjoined twin on our right is a head shorter...
When you stand with your feet together, your head is X number of inches above the ground. When you then spread your legs wide, your head is X inches MINUS Y inches above the ground. In plain language, your head is higher with your feet together and lower when your feet are spread wide.


About the burial, the thin soil, and the wagons...

-The thin soil is on the ridge; the thick soil is on the bottom of the valley - bottom land. If this is the top of the ridge, as I believe, it's entirely in line with thin soil.
-You can grow grains in very thin soil.
-The grass in the HOD view might not even be a crop.
-The two fruit trees are rooted in a mound of soil. That's not the usual practice. That indicates to me that this mound of soil has been placed there, with wood rails placed around the mound to protect against rain water erosion.

-OR, and I just thought about it... John Forney may have requested that they be buried elsewhere.

So thank you for making me think.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/7/2021 8:54:54 PM
Sorry, but I can't recall ever seeing a map that goes into the level of detail of delineating every individual tree within a woodlot. It's simply a typical map rendering of a wooded area. Likewise, the orchard depicted on the map only gives a representative sample of trees.

The two guys are still two guys. One in profile, the other half facing. Not a blurred image.

The orchard on the map extends down to the road. There's nothing to indicate that it was being planted in 1863. The trees visible in the photo, by what looks like a dismantled fence line, are too far back.

Actually, apart from the "3rd Corps badge" actually being something else, we don't know for a fact that they're NOT 3rd Corps. Or that that this is on the northern part of the field. If it's the southern part of the field, like all the other photos of dead bodies, it could well be 3rd Corps dead. Or 2nd, 5th, or 12th. Identifiable Corps badges in photos are unfortunately few and far between.

John Forney requested that they be buried elsewhere? Aside from the fact burials are clearly already in progress, I can't imagine that would have gone over well.

I have no problem with wheel ruts worn into stone. You can see that in Pompeii. But you're mixing what you believe are ruts in what you believe to be a road in an 1863 photo, with what appear to be ruts in a modern image. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since 1863. How do you know what the "ruts" in the "now" image are from? Unless they're clearly the same ruts, as could be demonstrated with exposed rock, which is not the case here, then you risk comparing apples and 158 year old oranges.

With the original photo not demonstrated to have been taken on a slant, or, frankly, giving any sign of having been, grafting a "corrected" sliver into the modern image simply distorts the slope and skyline. It renders the evidence useless.

Last but not least, you still have yet to comment on if, or how, the companion view supports this location.

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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 1:47:51 AM
I've replied two prior times.

To quote Gregory Peck in "twelve O'clock High - I'm chopping, but the chips aren't flying.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 12:38:40 PM
The forensic anthropologist’s opinion is crucial here.

Since I know virtually nothing about photography, and next to nothing about the lie of the land or the soil type, the only thing that gives me pause is that the bodies don’t appear sufficiently “ far gone” , in view of the five days - in the heat - that elapsed since death if these were men killed in the first day’s fight. Am I flogging a dead horse here ? Forgive the reference. : rather tasteless in view of the subject matter.

The alignment of the land contours appears to fit perfectly in the modern and original photographs : with the caveat about the condition of the dead, I find it convincing as regards to location.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 3:15:31 PM
Quote:
I've replied two prior times.


Not, however, about how well, if at all, the companion photo (image 104b in "Early Photography at Gettysburg") supports your proposed location.
This image was taken from a different camera position, facing about 135° clockwise from the first image.
Frassanito's 104b provides an excellent copy. If I understand your earlier posts correctly, particularly, the orientation of the "ruts" in both the then and now versions, the dead soldier on his side, near the object often misidentified as a 3rd Corps badge, should be lying in a "deep rut", in the old roadbed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Yet, 104b gives absolutely NO indication of a road. This, despite the fact that if the Mummasburg Road was visible in the photo, it should continue within the image, given the orientation. In fact, without pacing it off, the camera position for 104b, to agree with your proposed location, should have been in the road, or close to it. But, there's absolutely no sign of it. Just rather generic open field.

Also, the background of 104b shows a large number of dead bodies awaiting burial. Too many, given that as far as I am aware, Union infantry was not that heavily engaged, if at all, as far out as the Forney house.

Quote:
To quote Gregory Peck in "twelve O'clock High" - I'm chopping, but the chips aren't flying.


Sharpen your axe.
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 4:45:17 PM
Phil Andrade

These bodies are in different states. The ugly truth is that even badly wounded men can live for days.

This body is very bloated, including his head.


This body is pretty far gone. Noticeable bullet wound in the vest just below the V-shape of the open coat.


I look at these photos from all angles. It's remarkable what jumps out at you from an upside down view. For some reason his open and rolled back eye is suddenly very noticeable. We shouldn't shrink from the horror in these photos. These photos aren't curiosities. They're memorials.


The marks on his legs are livor mortis... lividity. Very briefly, blood pools at the lowest areas of the body as soon the as the heart stops. Looks like a bad bruise. After some hours the marks become permanent. When the body is moved, it's apparent, because the livor mortis doesn't match with the new position. Also, if there is some pressure on the flesh, that area is clear of livor mortis. So if there are white areas that aren't resting on something, That's also a sign that the body has been moved well after death.


Put in a Google search for livor mortis or lividity and you'll see some gruesome photos.



This poor boy looks fresh. I'm afraid that's because he lived for a long time after being wounded.
His left palm is black with livor mortis. That indicates that his hand was resting palm down for many hours after death. Same with the marks on his ear and jaw. That part of his face was a low point. That's how he was lying. That means he was moved.

Notice that he has water tracks on his face. What does that mean? It rained the day before before.

One scenario: He was turned over and clotted blood under his nose liquified in the rain and left those tracks. But he wasn't in that position in the rain long enough for the blood to wash away completely. So... he was turned over the evening before, carried here and lay here over night.

This photo was taken early in the morning. Perhaps the burial detail is just getting back to work, after carrying them here the day before. This is what the field looked like at the end of the work day on the 4th.

Or... was he indoors for a long time?

I've toyed with this idea. The Confederates set up a hospital in the Forney Farm buildings. Perhaps these are Union prisoners who were waiting to die in the hospital and were dragged outside down slope a few yards after death? I think that's a long shot, but worth thinking about.

The metal thing on his coat shoulder is meant to hold a brass shoulder shell btw. Doesn't mean he was necessarily an officer or an NCO. Probably not.



The visible side of this man's face is black with lividity. It's just not credible that he wasn't moved. But how far? Could it be that the burial detail was roaming this whole section of the battlefield collecting scattered bodies? And bringing them to this designated place? Could it be that this point was chosen because it's a steep rocky area and not muddy or boggy? We often see collected bodies in Civil War photos. Why couldn't this be one more instance? It's not likely this was a battle line. I think it's much more likely to be a collection point.

Or one more scenario. Gardner el al. were known to meddle with bodies to get more dramatic photos. Did they move these men a few yards to collect them into a more photogenic group?

Remember, all of this... It's just a thought. It's meant to be the beginning of the discussion, not the end.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 5:04:54 PM
The best download for this plate can be had from:

Battlefield of Gettysburg. Bodies of dead Federal soldiers on the field of the first day's battle. A download from the LOC. Choose the TIFF (124.2MB).

https://www.loc.gov/item/2012647835/
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 6:02:46 PM
Thank you for this comprehensive array of answers to my persistent question, Ed B.

Your suggestion that these men were dying, rather than killed outright, is plausible : it certainly matches with the features and distortions that are all too apparent on closer inspection.

For me, Frassanito was the be all and end all, and his 1975 book was what defined my perceptions. Now I'm being enlightened as to how things have changed in the past 46 years.

I did actually google livor mortis, and it's helped to apply what I read to the speculation regarding the fate of those men.

In my survey of the Union casualty list, I noticed a distinct anomaly in the record of the 26th Wisconsin, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, XI Corps. So much so, that I'd even wondered if these might dead might have been from that unit, having suffered the fate of dying in enemy hands, perhaps a couple of days after they had been mortally wounded. Did this regiment fight anywhere near that Mummasburg Road ?

The reason for my speculation was that the official report from the Brigade ( I'll avoid trying to spell the commander's name !) returned 26 killed, 129 wounded and 2 missing. John Busey has tabulated its actual loss as 43 killed and 16 mortally wounded : a very unusual - perhaps unique - feature of the Union casualty list from the battle. The high number of killed compared with the mortally wounded ( the ratio normally being 3 killed to 2 mortally wounded ) implies that the additional 17 killed identified in Busey's research were, perhaps, initially reported as missing, and that many, perhaps most, of them had been left dying in enemy hands. If so, might they be the poor fellas in the photo ?

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 7:27:23 PM
Phil,
Since you mention Frassanito's 1975 book, do you have his subsequent "Early Photography at Gettysburg"? If not, it is much broader in scope, and an absolute must for any student of the battle. A masterpiece.

As for the 26th Wisconsin, it and the rest of the 11th Corps fought on the far (east) side of Oak Ridge.

Jim
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 7:41:06 PM

Do the research, and huzzah. I'm here to get the help.

Yes, these are frock coats. I've never been able to count more than eight buttons (including a missing button but with matching buttonhole). There are two buttons on the sleeve cuffs but no visible piping on the cuffs that I've been able to find. That means that there is no piping, or that the piping is yellow or red and so dark on the print as not to stand out against the dark coats.

What colors look like in orthochromatic wet plate photography.



I would think that yellow piping would be the hardest to see.

I have reason to believe that these men were armed with Enfields. I want to get expert opinion on that.

These men have no hats. If they fell just here in line of battle their hats would be there unless looted, which would mean they'd have to be awfully desirable. Or, they were lost when the bodies were moved. There is one visible kepi, and people have imagined it bears a 1st Corp Badge on its crown. If it were such, the badge would have to be white, light green or light blue. But I think it's just a somewhat squashed Confederate kepi catching the light just so. The chin strap is hanging below the visor.



Legend has it that it was heavily overcast or even misting at the time these photos were taken, but it's not so. It was a light overcast with enough sun to cast hard edged shadows. Being an advanced amateur photographer and the most amateur of amateur astronomer, I can easily tell which direction the sunlight is coming from. Since the early morning Sun is in the East, it's easy to tell which way the cameras were facing. I'll demonstrate later.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 9:18:28 PM
Ed,
I'm not sure on which of the bodies you think you see a bayonet scabbard or frog. I personally do not. However, as near as I can tell none of the men are wearing their accoutrements. Possibly already stripped off for salvage by the quarter masters? In any case the bayonet scabbard and frog would be one piece, stitched together, worn on the leather accoutrement belt. With the belts gone, so too would be the bayonets worn on them.

As far as being armed with Enfields, I don't think there's enough evidence in the photo to establish what they were armed with. But even if there was, Enfields were common enough in the AOP by 1863 that it wouldn't help much in pinning down any particular regiment.

----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Ed B.
Las Vegas NV USA
Posts: 25
Joined: 2021
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 10:12:51 PM
On the soldier lying on his side in the rut. It's mostly under his coat, but you can see the outline of the frog. You can also see the white-leather belt loop and the butt-end of the bayonet itself. It's not around his waist. It's been hiked way up and flopped over 180 degrees, along his ribs on his back.. Most of this is hidden under his coat, with visible lining and turned out coat pocket. But you can see the shape of the frog clearly. It's distinctive. Nothing like a Springfield frog.

Careful, there's also something that looks like a knitting needle sticking out through the lining of his coat, straight out horizontally. But it's just a weed that's been bent to a neat 90 degree angle several feet in front of him. You can barely make out the vertical half of the weed but you can see the horizontal part clearly. Tricky.

Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/8/2021 10:53:42 PM
I'm not seeing it. And even flipped, it should still be hung from an accoutrement belt, which is missing. As I said, it looks like these bodies had already been stripped of salvageable items.
Even if it was an Enfield bayonet, it would still be a common enough item that the mere presence of one wouldn't prove anything, one way or the other. Half the regiments in the army had Enfields.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5186
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/9/2021 5:11:59 AM
This Harvest of Death has to be one of the more harrowing post battle photographs. Compare it with one of its notorious Antietam counterparts of rebel dead clogging up an area along the fence bordering the Hagerstown Pike : Louisianans from Strake’s Brigade, according to Frassanito. Only two days dead, and “ slain in line of battle”, and every bit as bloated as those yankees in the Gettysburg photo. More hats and general detritus are visible. The Gettysburg scene depicts, according to our discussion, mortally wounded yankees who have been moved here after they had died. One is conspicuous for being recognisable, others are hideously bloated. The realisation that they had died after a day or two of suffering makes the Day One scenario more plausible, and it accounts for some of the dead still being recognisable. The alignment of the land contours in the adjacent then and now photos has convinced me. Googling through this topic, I note than there are still advocates of this being in the Emmitsburg Road sector.

Why do you think the photograpic crews were prepared to show these Northern casualties in such a vivid depiction of horror, when they tended to focus on Confederate dead ?

Was it because they were taken back at the realisation of how fierce the contest of the First Day had been, and wanted to make the Northern public appreciate what that underrated day had cost ? Or simply opportunism ?

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/9/2021 10:55:48 AM
Phil,
About all that can be said with any certainty is the the dead in the photo died at some point prior to being photographed. Some may have lingered, others, died outright.
Also, with due respect to Ed, we don't know for a fact this IS on the first day's field. Since the location remains unproven, that's simply one possibility.

As to the motivation of the photographers, my guess is that when they came across unburied Union dead, they could hardly believe their luck. This would have been too good to pass up.
----------------------------------
Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1329
Joined: 2004
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/9/2021 11:43:57 AM
Very interesting thread. My question is if the HOD photo is in fact on the first day battlefield are there more identified photos from the photographer showing July-1 casualties or landmarks? It would seem the photographer would have taken more than one photograph before packing up and moving South.
Larry.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Jim Cameron
Ossining NY USA
Posts: 969
Joined: 2005
Proposed Site - The Harvest of Death
8/9/2021 2:10:23 PM
Quote:
Very interesting thread. My question is if the HOD photo is in fact on the first day battlefield are there more identified photos from the photographer showing July-1 casualties or landmarks? It would seem the photographer would have taken more than one photograph before packing up and moving South.
Larry.

Larry,
You're far from the first to have raised that point. Perhaps, having come upon a burial party in the course of their (very unpleasant) labors, surrounded as they were by a bunch of rotting corpses on a hot day, they could only induce them to cease digging long enough for a couple of shots.
A related question might be, if these are indeed on the first day's field, why were all the other dead that were photographed on the southern end of the battlefield? Although that fact alone would not preclude the northern part of the field as a possible location.

Jim
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
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