Saturday, January 05, 2013

Antietam: The Biscoe brothers' battlefield images

This 1884 image by the Biscoe brothers shows Dunker Church at Antietam.
The post-Civil War house at left has long since been torn down.
(Photo:Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library)
The time and date each Biscoe image was taken appears below the photo in their
 album. This image shows the Philip Pry house, General George McClellan's headquarters
 at Antietam. (Photo: Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library)
 A man, perhaps one of the Biscoe brothers, may barely be seen near the fence 
in Bloody Lane. This image was taken at 6:20 p.m. on Aug. 6, 1884.
(Photo: Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library)
While digging around online recently, I stumbled upon a group of Antietam photographs that I never knew existed. In August 1884, brothers T. Dwight and Walter Biscoe took a trip through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Along the way, they took photos of cemeteries, off-the-beaten path sites and Civil War battlefields, including many  images of Antietam. A professor at Marietta College in Ohio, Dwight Biscoe was a huge photography buff. Like his brother, Walter was a graduate of Amherst (Mass.) College; he was employed as a New York state librarian. (Quick aside: 16th Connecticut captain Newton Manross, killed at Antietam, was an associate professor at Amherst College before he enlisted.) The Biscoe brothers’ 129-photo album is part of the collection at the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University, about three miles from where I used to live in Dallas in the early 1990s. If I only knew then … Of the Antietam images, I especially like the one of Dunker Church (above), which includes a post-Civil War house next to the famous battlefield landmark, and a unique view from the hillside above Burnside Bridge. Here’s a link to the SMU site -- digitized, higher-quality Biscoe brothers' photos may be viewed there -- and a link to the Flickr stream of Biscoe images.

This Biscoe brothers' image shows the D.R. Miller farmhouse and a family on the front porch.
The Miller's cornfield was scene of savage fighting on the morning of  Sept. 17, 1862.
(Photo: Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library)

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FACES OF THE CIVIL WAR: Stories and photos of common soldiers who served during the war.
16TH CONNECTICUT SOLDIERS: Tales of the men in the hard-luck regiment.
MORE ON ANTIETAM: Read my extensive thread on the battle and the men who fought in it

1 comment:

Tom Hart said...

The photos reveal a tranquil present that belies the horrors of 1861. Thanks for posting them.