Contemporary Accounts of the Battlefield After Confederate Withdrawl

10 05 2012

In yesterday’s post I reproduced an 1865 account of what the 8th PA Reserves saw on the battlefield of Bull Run in the spring of 1862, and wondered whether there were any contemporary accounts to corroborate. Reader Vince, host of Lancaster at War, sent along this account published in a newspaper of the time describing the condition of the battlefield. Also included in the post is the above photo supposed to be a group of civilians posing in front of some disturbed remains on the battlefield of Bull Run (which can be found at Colgate University). I’ve never seen this photo before, and the year it was taken appears to be unknown, but if it is what it is thought to be, it’s the only such photo I know of. Thanks to Vince for pointing it out.

And right here on Bull Runnings, we have this letter. Not corroborative of everything, but of some things.

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6 responses

10 05 2012
The staff

Harry: have you ever seen that image from Colgate on the Lancaster at War site?

John Hennessy

10 05 2012
Harry Smeltzer

John, I have not. Tell me more…

10 05 2012
Vince

I was going to ask the same thing. It just popped up in a Google search last night, and I don’t know anything more than what I linked.

10 05 2012
Harry Smeltzer

I see it now – the “Colgate” threw me. I was so fixated on the newpaper account that I pretty much ignored the photo. Seems like I’m rushing a lot these days. I’m guessing the remains are in front of the group. A high res TIFF version might allow for a closer view, similar to what John and his cohorts are so good at. And what’s with the bucket labeled “Grape…”? The description says “grapeshot bucket”, but we all know grapeshot wasn’t used in field artillery during the war. I wonder if it’s something tourists used when relic hunting? If this is indeed remains on the field of Bull Run, it’s the only one I know of. Also, it appears the date is in question. Good find, Vince!

11 05 2012
The staff

Harry, that photo is entirely new to me. It has an odd feel and look about it, but certainly the landscape in the background has familiar feel, and I suspect that under magnification we might be able to identify where it was taken. I was not aware that Russell was ever on the battlefield itself–we know he took images along Bull Run lower down–but I concede that I haven’t paid too much attention to the specific meanderings of specific photographers. But, of course, we know people who do, and I will alert them to this. John H.

11 05 2012
Vince

My wife suggests that it’s a mid-war photograph based on the dress fullness, sleeve width, and bonnet shape. She also said the bearded man in the center in relatively plain attire really stands out, thinking he’s either with the photographer or has some sort of religious affiliation. In the latter case, perhaps this is a group with a benevolence or aid purpose rather than simple sightseers.

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