Monday, May 13, 2013

The Photographers of Gettysburg

If you are a Civil War buff, particularly one who is interested in the Civil War in Pennsylvania, you may want to check out the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 website, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Heritage Society.  The site is filled with useful information about the War and the events surrounding the celebration of its 150th anniversary.

Today I ran across an interesting post on the traveling photographers of the war.  Rae Tyson's essay originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage.  Here is a taste:

Of the five hundred journalists who covered the war, forty-five reported on the Battle of Gettysburg waged from Wednesday through Friday, July 1-3. Many news organizations assigned reporters to follow the battles and skirmishes, among them prominent New York Times correspondent Samuel Wilkeson, whose nineteen-year-old son was killed on the first day of battle at Gettysburg; Thomas Morris Chester (1834-1892) of the Philadelphia Press, the war's only African American reporter; and Uriah Hunt Painter (1837-1897), a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, all of whom reported from Gettysburg. Also at the scene were sketch artists Edwin Forbes (1839-1895), Alfred R. Waud (1828-1891), and Theodore R. Davies (1840-1894), who embedded with troops from both the North and the South. Gettysburg, a small rural town in the rolling hills of southcentral Pennsylvania, was isolated from metropolitan areas. The isolation and the perils of the battle hindered the itinerant journalists in their efforts to provide timely coverage for readers. Gettysburg was not equipped to transmit dispatches by telegraph, the only transmission method available to war correspondents which did not rely on tedious, tiresome, and time-consuming travel by train or horseback to deliver news.