Jan 11

Jerry Coates is the host for this presentation on the Harvest of Death Photographs. He is standing in Spangler’s Lane. The Henry Spangler Farm is in the background at the end of the lane. Jerry believes that the Harvest of Death photographs were taken in the low area in the left background. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

On approximately July 5, 1863, the photography crew of Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and James Gibson approached the Gettysburg battlefield to produce images. The photographs taken by Gardner and his crew are some of the most famous of the American Civil War, and many of the locations for those photographs were identified by the detective work of pioneering historian William Frassanito.

Mr. Frassanito, in his publication of Gettysburg: A Journey in Time, failed to locate (to his satisfaction) where one group of photographs were taken. These photographs, now known as the “Harvest of Death,” show a group of dead Union soldiers from two different angles. Many individuals have gone out on the battlefield with Frassanito’s book in hand, trying to find the location of the Harvest of Death photographs. In today’s post, Mr. Earl J. “Jerry” Coates presents his location for the Harvest of Death.

Earl J. Jerry Coates is a native of Ashland, Ohio. One of his great-great uncles, Nathan D. Hanson of the 1st Maine Heavy ARtillery, was killed in action at Petersburg, Virginia. Mr. Coates also had four other great-uncles who served in the Civil War. Jerry attended Ashland College and graduated from Baltimore’s Loyola College with a degree in American history. He served in the United States Army, and after his discharge worked for the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C. Coates was instrumental in the establishment of the National Cryptologic Museum at Fort George G. Meade, and he served as the facility’s first curator. He retired from the U.S. government in 1994 after 35 years of service. During his time in Washington, his interest in history led him to spend at least one evening a week at the National Archives studying uniforms, firearms, and other equipment. He became a member of the North South Skirmish Association (NSSA) in 1970 and by 1992 was the national commander of the organization. Mr. Coates is considered to be one of the leading authorities on the Unites States Army Quartermaster’s Department operations during the Civil War, and has authored or coauthored several volumes and numerous articles. He served as a consultant for Time-Life books, the A&E Network’s Civil War Journal, and artist Don Troiani. He is a past president of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.

In our first post, Historian Jerry Coates provided background on himself and on the evidence that he gathered which led him to this location for the Harvest of Death photographs.

In today’s post, Jerry Coates walks us down Spangler’s Lane, explains the itinerary of Gardner and crew, and presents both views at his location for the Harvest of Death.

This map shows the locations where the videos were filmed. Videos #1 and #4 were filmed south of the Henry Spangler Farm. Video #2 was filmed near the Emmitsburg Road by the monument to the 5th New Jersey Infantry Regiment. Video #3 was filmed in Spangler’s Lane.This map was created facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.

We have now walked down Spangler’s Lane. The Klingel Farm buildings are in the right background. The ridge on which the Klingel buildings are situated is also the location of the Emmitsburg Road. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

In Video #3 (Videos #1-2 were seen in our previous post) Historian Earl J. “Jerry” Coates is standing in Spanglers Lane. He explains the itinerary for Alexander Gardner and his photography crew as they took pictures on the Gettysburg battlefield. This view was taken facing northwest to southeast at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

Jerry Coates is in front of the house and outbuildings of the Henry Spangler Farm. The farm house was originally a rectangular log structure with a stone summer kitchen directly behind it. The house was altered circa 1880 when a brick second story was added to the summer stone kitchen and the new structure was attached to the log house. Board and batten siding were then added to the new farm house. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

Jerry Coates is standing in front of the Spangler Barn. The original barn was burned during the battle of July 2, 1863, and a new barn was rebuilt on its foundations. The second barn was struck by lightning in 1932 and was also destroyed. Again the barn was rebuilt and today a third structure stands on the original foundations.This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

The original structures on the farm were constructed circa 1820 by George Plank. The farm was purchased by Henry Spangler in 1862.This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

Here is the area to the north where Jerry Coates believes one of the Harvest of Death photographs was taken. Part of the Spangler Barn is visible on the right. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

In Video #4 Jerry Coates is standing is standing in the area where he believes the Harvest of Death photographs were taken. He shows both views. This view was taken facing northeast to southwest to west to southeast to north to northeast to north to northeast to north at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

The “north view.” This view was taken facing northeast in the 1990s and is courtesy of Jerry Coates.

The “north” view with the burial party.If Jerry Coates is correct, this view was taken facing northeast on Sunday, July 5, 1863. It is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The “north” view without the burial party.If Jerry Coates is correct, this view was taken facing northeast on Sunday, July 5, 1863. It is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Jerry Coates is pointing out the low spot where the fence in the original photographs may have been located. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 3:00 PM on Monday, November 28, 2011.

The view to the “south” which Jerry Coates describes as the “long view.” In the center background are two light colored buildings. The Warfield House is on the left and the Sheffler House is on the right. The Longstreet Tower is barely visible through the glare in the center background. If Jerry Coates is correct, this view was taken facing southwest on Sunday, July 5, 1863. It is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Here is the original version of the “long view.” This image is courtesy of the Library of Congress.
William Frassanito’s Gettysburg: A Journey in Time provides a detailed explanation about the Harvest of Death photographs. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
William Frassanito’s Early Photography at Gettysburg discusses the various attempts to find the Harvest of Death photographs in his section on the Rose Farm. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Jerry Coates has authored or co-authored a number of publications including Civil War Sharps Carbines and Rifles. For ordering information, click here. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Jerry Coates has authored or co-authored a number of publications including Don Troiani’s Soldiers in America, 1754-1865. For ordering information, click here. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Jerry Coates has authored or co-authored a number of publications including Don Troiani’s Civil War Cavalry and Artillery. For ordering information, click here. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Jerry Coates has authored or co-authored a number of publications including Don Troiani’s Regiments and Uniforms of the Civil War. For ordering information, click here. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.
Jerry Coates has authored or co-authored a number of publications including Don Troiani’s Civil War Militia and Volunteers. For ordering information, click here. This image was copied facing north at approximately 2:30 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2012.


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