Ruins of State Armory, Columbia, 1865
Here are two excellent views in which we see the conditions under which the army photographer worked in the field.
The first picture is of Barnard, the Government photographer under Captain O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer of the Military Division of the Mississippi.
Barnard was engaged to take photographs of the new Federal fortifications being constructed under Captain Poe's direction at Atlanta, September-October, 1864. Captain Poe found the old Confederate line of defense of too great extent to be held by such a force as Sherman intended to leave as garrison of the town.
Consequently, he selected a new line of much shorter development which passed through the northern part of the town, making necessary the destruction of many buildings in that quarter.
Barnard is here at work sensitizing his plates in a light-proof tent, making his exposures, and developing immediately within the tent.
His chemicals and general supplies were carried in the wagon showing to the right.
Thus, as the pioneer corps worked on the fortifications, the entire series of photographs showing their progress was made to be forwarded later to Washington by Captain Poe, with his official report.
In the background we see the battle-field where began the engagement of July 22, 1864, known as the battle of Atlanta, in which General McPherson lost his life.
Thus Brady and all the war photographers worked right up to the trenches, lugging their cumbersome tents and apparatus, often running out of supplies or carrying hundreds of glass plates over rough roads or exposed to possible shells.
To the many chances of failure was added that of being at any time picked off by some sharpshooter.
In the smaller picture appears a duplicate of Brady's “What-is-it,” being the dark-room buggy of Photographer Wearn.
In the back-ground are the ruins of the State Armory at Columbia, South Carolina.
This was burned as Sherman's troops passed through the city on their famous march through the Carolinas, February, 1865.
The photographer, bringing up the rear, has preserved the result of Sherman's work, which is typical of that done by him all along the line of march to render useless to the Confederate armies in the field, the military resources of the South. |