Union Reserve Positions Near Antietam Battlefield
Original Author: Alexander Gardner
Created: September 17 or 18, 1862
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Union Reserve Positions Near Antietam Battlefield

An unidentified man with binoculars looks toward the battlefield in an image that the photographer Alexander Gardner captioned "View of Battle-field of Antietam, on day of battle, Sept. 17, 1862." Despite the photographer's description, it has been determined that the photograph does not show the battlefield itself, but a view behind the lines in front of Union general George McClellan's headquarters. What was believed to be smoke arising from the battlefield, at far right, is actually smoke from campfires. Photographic historian William A. Frassanto further argues that the image was probably made the day after the battle, citing as evidence the fact that the artillery batteries, in the distance at left, are inactive; on the day of battle they would have been fully engaged.