Saturday, March 22, 2014

Antietam Up Close: Samuel Mumma farm ruins

Left half of  Alexander Gardner's glass-plate image of Mumma farm ruins at Antietam.
(Library of Congress collection)
Fearing the buildings would be used by Union sharpshooters, Rebels burned Samuel Mumma's brick farmhouse, springhouse and barn on the morning of Sept. 17, 1862 during the Battle of Antietam. Two or three days later, according to acclaimed Civil War photo expert William Frassanito, noted photographer Alexander Gardner captured the image above of the ruins of the 62-year-old farmer's property. Published versions of the glass-plate image have probably been seen hundreds of times by most Civil War buffs, but how many of you have viewed enlargements of the photograph that reveal the amazing details below? (Click on all images to enlarge.)


In the lower left corner, a Union soldier gazes at the ruins of the farm ...


... musket in hand and perhaps a blanket over his arm, he looks almost ghost-like in this enlargement ...


... while a man, probably another Union soldier, appears amid the rubble ...


... which included this roofless, white-washed brick springhouse, the only salvageable building on Mumma's farm after the battle ...


... and in this close-up of the left side of the image, a horse stands idly by with Gardner's darkroom wagon just beyond a fence. 

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