“The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter” Revisited, Part 1

The Blog of Gettysburg National Military Park

One of the most iconic images of Gettysburg is the photograph of a deceased young Confederate soldier lying behind a stone barricade at Devil’s Den. This graphic image was first published in 1866 in Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, a collection of wartime images taken by Alexander Gardner and his team of photographers. Entitled “The Home of A Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg”, Gardner describes the melancholy scene as he discovered it with the young sharpshooter lying prone behind a stone barricade, and wondered in his narrative if thoughts of home and loved ones filled the young soldier’s mind as he perished.

1-home of Rebel Sharpshooter “The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg” by Timothy O’Sullivan (Library of Congress)

There is more to this tale of course, but suffice it to say that we now understand the scene depicted in the photo was staged by the photographers and was not, as Gardner claimed in…

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