|This enlargement of Gardner's image clearly shows another man, probably a soldier, on Burnside Bridge. |
The names of both men are lost to history.
(CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
|On Sept. 21, 1862, famed Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner took this image of a soldier near|
12 freshly dug graves at a stone wall near Burnside Bridge at Antietam. (Library of Congress collection.)
|In an enlargement of Gardner's image, the graves are easily seen. In his ground-breaking book, |
Civil War photography expert William Frassanito first revealed the names of four of the
51st New York soldiers buried at the wall.
|Another enlargement of Gardner's image shows the grave of a soldier in Company I of the 51st New York, |
which stormed Burnside Bridge at 1 p.m. on Sept. 17, 1862. William Frassanito identified
the soldier as Corporal Michael Keefe.
|My favorite Antietam book.|
Frassanito presumed that the three other graves were also for 51st New York soldiers. Profiled in June in the Washington Post, he was even able to decipher the names on four of the headboards: Sgt. George Loud of Company C (buried at the feet of the posed soldier); Private Edward Miller of Company H (three graves to the right of Loud); Private John Thompson of Company B (three graves to the right of Miller) and Corporal Michael Keefe of Company I (second grave to right of Thompson).
Using a digital copy of Gardner's image from the Library of Congress Civil War photography site, I was unable to read the names on the wooden headboards, but enlargements of the image reveal some pretty neat detail. Company I and NYV (New York Volunteers) are easily discernible on Keefe's wooden headboard, and another man, probably a soldier, can be seen on Burnside Bridge, over the right shoulder of the man posed in the foreground. The permanent graves of Loud, Miller, Thompson and Keefe are about a mile away, in the beautiful grounds of Antietam National Cemetery. Stop to think about those four men and their eight other comrades the next time you visit Burnside Bridge.
|That's me, your humble blogger, posed at the approximate position of the soldier in Gardner's image.|