Gettysburg- actual photographs reveal the horrors of the battle

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

Hanover junction Pa 1863

General Meade’s Headquarters

Meade's Hdqs. Gettysburg, Pa.

General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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

Photograph showing view from summit of Little Round Top, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with farms in the distance. ca. 1860

The battle-field of Gettysburg. Little Round Top and Round TopThe battle-field of Gettysburg. Little Round Top and Round Top

Possible photo of Gettysburg 1863

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

Battlefield culps

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

Trossels house 1863 - dead horses

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.Battle-field of Gettysburg. Scene of General Reynold's death

 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.Place where Gen. Reynolds was killed July 1863

 The battle-field of Gettysburg. Bryan’s houseThe battle-field of Gettysburg. Bryan's house

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 TigersBattle-field of Gettysburg. Scene of the charge of 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 negativeDevil's Den, Gettysburg

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 negativeDead on Little Round Top

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

The battle-field of Gettysburg. Dead horses of Bigelows (9th Massachusetts) Battery

Confederate Dead

Confederate dead

Last home of rebel sharpshooterlast Home of Rebel sharpshooter

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. McPherson’s woods on the left of the Chambersburg Pike

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. McPherson's woods on left of the Chambersburg Pike

Dedication of monument at Gettysburg cemetery – photographed between 1861 and 1865, printed between 1880 and 1889Dedication of monument at Gettysburg cemetery

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.

Photograph shows Gen. Samuel W. Crawford, Gen. Andrew Porter, Gov. John W. Geary, and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant outside the orphanage and flanked by girls on the left and boys on the right.1867 portrait with Grant

Discordance: The Cottinghams Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America. 

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She cohost the Podcast: Alabama Grist Mill and developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and

All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble.

She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .

For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

One Response to Gettysburg- actual photographs reveal the horrors of the battle

  1. Trevor Hurst says:

    To all the men who stood and fought in the blue or the gray for all that gave there all for what they believed each and every one true hero’s
    and a heart felt prayer for each and every soldier that they rest now in God’s glory

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