WARNING: Photos were taken shortly after the battle and some of them are very graphic.
Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle
The Battle of Gettysburg was the Civil War’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. Brave soldiers died on this field of battle from both the north and the south. They gave the ultimate sacrifice fighting for what they believed in. Photographs were made of the battlefield shortly after the battle took place and remind us of the grim mortality that took place.
WARNING: Some of the photographs from the Library of Congress below are quite graphic and show dead soldiers so please do not read or view this story if you are upset by photographs like these.
Parts of the two armies initially collided at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it.
Hanover Junction, Pa. Passenger train at depot in a photograph from the main eastern theater of the war, Gettysburg, June-July, 1863
General Meade’s Headquarters
General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled. The Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Peach Orchard.
Photograph showing view from the summit of Little Round Top, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
On the Union right, Confederate demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.
Battle-field of Gettysburg. Culp’s Hill Caption continues: The intrenchments (i.e. entrenchments) on side of the hill was the line of Wadsworth’s Division. The lunettes in the foreground covered the guns of Reynolds, (L, 1st New York) Battery. Gift; Col. Godwin Ordway; 1948
Trossel’s house – battlefield Gettysburg – near to the barn on the left was where Sickles has his headquarters and lost his leg photographer Timothy H. O’Sullivan July 1863 – Photograph shows many dead horses from the 9th Massachusetts Battery of Light Artillery killed on the ground in front of Abraham Trostle’s house near the headquarters of General Daniel Edgar Sickles
Battle-field of Gettysburg. Scene of General Reynold’s death between 1861-1865 printed ca. 1880 – Caption continues: Archer’s (Confederate) brigade was advancing to seize the clump of woods on the right of the picture. General Reynolds ordered Meredith’s brigade to repel the attempts and was sitting on his horse at the edge of the woods, encouraging the men as they passed him when he was shot. McPherson’s Woods.
Image shows McPherson Woods near the place where Union General John Reynolds was killed on the first day of the battle, and the sign was erected in the mid-1880s.
Gettysburg, the battlefield of, Scene of Pickett’s charge
Battle-field of Gettysburg. Scene of the charge of the Louisiana Tigers Caption continues: The foreground of the picture is the crest of Cemetery Hill at the point when the assault struck. Hoke’s brigade formed behind the rising ground in the center of the picture. Hays’ brigade formed in the streets of the town and moved out by the left flank until it reached Hoke’s line. Both brigades then swept forward in the charge, led by the Louisiana Tigers
Devil’s Den, Gettysburg – Embossed on image: White Studio, Hanover, Pa. Possibly a copy photograph made from an albumen print of a Brady negative
Dead on Little Round Top, Gettysburg Embossed on image: White Studio, Hanover, Pa. Possibly a copy photograph made from an albumen print of a Brady negative
The battle-field of Gettysburg. Dead horses of Bigelow’s (9th Massachusetts) Battery Caption continues: This battery was posted at Abram Trostle’s (i.e. Abraham Trossel’s) house. In the battle of the second day, it fought with fixed prolonges until the enemy was within six feet of the guns. Nearly all the horses of the battery were killed
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. McPherson’s woods on the left of the Chambersburg Pike
Dedication of monument at Gettysburg cemetery – photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889
Orphans’ homestead, Gettysburg, Pa. The building, newly roofed and adapted as far as practicable for its present use, was occupied by Gen. Howard as his headquarters at the battle of Gettysburg. It stands on Cemetery Hill, within a few rods of the vertex of the angle formed by our army in the battle. It was used until a more commodious and suitable structure was erected to shelter its present fatherless inmates, with many other soldiers’ orphans in different States of the Union, awaiting admission to the institution. Photographed by C.J. Tyson, Gettysburg. June 21, 1867.