Dead Soldiers at Antietam

Creator: Alexander Gardner

Context: This photograph was taken in September 1862 two days after the Battle of Antietam. Though the battle was essentially a draw, it was also one of the deadliest battles of the war.

Audience: A broad segment of the American public.

Purpose: To show the American public the horrors of war. Gardner's pictures were the first photographs ever taken of an American battlefield before the bodies were buried.

Historical Significance: Photography was a new medium at the time of the Civil War, and pictures taken by Gardner and other photographers such as Matthew Brady, showed the carnage of a battlefield, transforming Americans' understanding of war.