A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep
Publisher: Alexander Gardner
Medium: Photographic print
Captured by Gardner himself, A Sharpshooter’s Last Sleep is one of several photographs in the sketchbook which show dead soldiers after the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place in early July 1863.
This photograph, along with the image that follows it in the book, The Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, has received much attention by historians and photography scholars due to the suggestion that Gardner and his studio helpers used the same body in both images. This practice was not uncommon amongst Civil War photographers. Indeed, O’Sullivan’s photographs of dead soldiers at Gettysburg have similarly been accused of being staged scenes. Despite potential manipulation, the image above, along with other images of dead soldiers during the conflict, continue to have a great impact on the viewer.