Steve writes that Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan are famous for having made iconic photographs in the Civil War’s eastern theater. George N. Barnard deserves to be ranked in this top tier for his photographic work in the war’s western theater.
Barnard was a civilian photographer hired by Gen. William T. Sherman’s chief engineer, Capt. Orlando Poe, to take pictures of fortifications around Atlanta. Barnard took several hundred of them in and around the city in the fall of 1864. His most famous is the site of Union Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson’s death in the Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864.
Thus far, no comprehensive, definitive listing has been made of the photographer’s work. The Library of Congress has 130 images; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has at least 98 photographs, donated by Captain Poe’s widow in early 1896. Along with the pictures she donated a typed list of them, each with Barnard’s meticulous caption.
The challenge in Barnardiana is that the photographer took multiple shots of the same scene, usually from slightly different perspectives, while the “Poe list” at West Point may include only one numbered image. That means that there are lots of uncataloged Barnard photographs still popping up.
Here’s an example: a view of the ruins of the Atlanta Rolling Mill that (so far as we know) has not been published—till now. It shows the wreckage of the Confederate ordnance train blown up in the night of the evacuation, Sept. 1-2, 1864. It has reposed at the USMA since Elanor Poe donated it!
Our book, Steve writes, has several different sections: a survey of Barnard’s life and work, an overview of the Atlanta Campaign with eight contemporary maps, thumbnails of twenty Union and Confederate generals, plus a short bibliography. The more than one hundred photographs themselves are grouped under such headings as “Atlanta Scenes” and “Federals in Atlanta.” The largest section shows Confederate fortifications, with multiple views of such iconic artillery positions as Fort Hood. Each is offered with a caption reflecting Davis’ decades of looking at Barnardiana.
A unique section, “Barnard Under the Microscope,” magnifies jaw-dropping details in eight photographs—those are black people on the boxcars!
Publisher Jack Melton has meticulously reproduced Barnard’s photography with clear and sharp images on quality gloss stock. This is just one more reason that we like to call our work “the best little book on Barnard.”
Price for Stephen Davis’ 100 Photographs: Atlanta Campaign (128 pages, paperback) is $19.95 + $3.50 s & h. You can get your copy, signed by the author, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 800-777-1862.