(Warning: graphic material) “Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter,” a photograph of a Gettysburg soldier by Alexander Gardner, July 1863.
The subject of this photograph was one of between twenty-three thousand and twenty-eight thousand casualties suffered by Confederate forces at Gettysburg. His body was one of eight thousand soldiers and three thousand horses (from both armies) who died on the battlefield. Because it was the height of summer, bodies needed to be buried quickly to minimize smell and preserve public health. The Union Army was only responsible for its own dead, and the Confederates had retreated, so local residents of Gettysburg likely buried the Confederate dead out of necessity.
This photograph of a dead Confederate soldier at Gettysburg is the work of Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner. With other photographers, Gardner captured many scenes of violence at Gettysburg and shared them with the American public through exhibits and publications. Photographers at Gettysburg and other Civil War battles carried heavy, cumbersome equipment onto the field and risked personal safety in order to document the war.