|The original of Alexander Gardner's glass-plate image of a lone grave at Antietam.|
(Library of Congress collection.)
In his ground-breaking book, "Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America's Bloodiest Day," William Frassanito examined this glass-plate image in detail and even discovered the name and background of the soldier whose name appears on the wooden headboard at the fresh grave by the tree: John Marshall, a private in the 28th Pennsylvania. (A version of the image also was used on the cover of Frassanito's book.) While the original of the photograph has been seen in many publications over the years, enlargements of it probably have not. They are revealing. (Click on all images below to enlarge, and click here for the Antietam Up Close series on my blog.)
... John Marshall's name and regimental number are barely visible etched on a crude wooden headboard. On the original of the image at the Library of Congress, Marshall's regimental number clearly can be seen under magnification, according to Frassanito. Another piece of wood, perhaps a footboard, appears in this enlargement. From Allegheny City, Pa., across the river from Pittsburgh, Marshall was 50 years old, one of the oldest soldiers in the Union army. (Also killed at Antietam, 8th Connecticut private Peter Mann was 54 years old.) Sometime after the war, Marshall's remains were recovered and re-buried in Antietam National Cemetery under Grave 19 in the Pennsylvania section.