Harvest of Death Part 14: Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman and Tim Smith
April 18, 2017
A glass plate titled “View in Field on Right Wing Where General Reynolds Fell At The Battle of Gettysburg.”This image was taken by Timothy H. O’Sullivan for Alexander Gardner circa July 5-6, 1863 [LOC].
“A Harvest of Death.”This image was taken by Timothy H. O’Sullivan for Alexander Gardner circa July 5-6, 1863 [LOC].
Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman (left) and Tim Smith (right) are our hosts for the Harvest of Death Series. This photograph was taken south of the Chambersburg Pike on the first day’s battlefield in the location for Video #29 in this series. The Chambersburg Pike and the bridge over the Railroad Cut on Reynolds Avenue can be seen in the right background.This view was taken facing northwest in August of 2016.
Garry Adelman (left) is the Director of History and Education for the Civil War Trust. He earned his B.A. in business from Michigan State University and his M.A. in history at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He is the award-winning author, co-author or editor of Gettysburg in 3-D (2013) Antietam in 3-D (2012), Manassas Battlefields Then & Now (2011), The Civil War 150 (2011) Antietam: Then & Now (2005), The Myth of Little Round Top (2003), The Early Gettysburg Battlefield (2001), Little Round Top: A Detailed Tour Guide (2000), and Devil’s Den: A History and Guide (1997) as well as nine Civil War image booklets. He has published articles in Civil War Times, Civil War Monitor, Gettysburg Magazine, Civil War News, Hallowed Ground and others. He has conceived and drafted the text for wayside exhibits at eight battlefields, has given thousands of battlefield tours at some 50 sites and has lectured at hundreds of locations across the country including the National Archives and the Smithsonian. He has appeared as a speaker on the BBC, C-Span, Pennsylvania Cable Network, American Heroes Channel, and on HISTORY where he was a chief consultant and talking head on the Emmy Award-winning show Gettysburg (2011) and Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color (2015). He is a founder and longtime vice president of the Center for Civil War Photography and is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg. If you’d like to see more from Garry, be sure to visit his Facebook page. Garry and Tim are standing by some of the most recognizable rocks of the Devil’s Den area for their series on Devil’s Den in 2011.This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Friday, July 1, 2011.
Timothy H. Smith (kneeling) is a native of Baltimore and a life long student of the American Civil War. He is employed as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park and as a research historian at the Adams County Historical Society. He is an instructor for the Gettysburg Elderhostel and teaches classes on the battle and local history at the Gettysburg Campus of the Harrisburg Area Community College. Tim has written numerous articles and authored or co-authored ten books on Gettysburg related topics, including John Burns: The Hero of Gettysburg (2000). He has lectured extensively at Civil War Round Tables and Seminars and has appeared on several television documentaries, including the Unknown Civil War and the popular PCN Gettysburg Battle Walk series. Tim and Garry are pictured here investigating a possible location for the Harvest of Death photo series on the Rose Farm property in 2012.This view was taken at approximately 4:25 PM on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 for Tim Smith’s series on Gettysburg Rock Carvings.
In Video #29 Garry and Tim update us on the Harvest of Death series, discuss the prevalence of theories presented on social media, and explain their role in finding the Harvest of Death photographs.This video was taken facing northwest in August of 2016.
The “All Over Now” photo Garry mentions in Video 29.This view was taken in July of 1863 by Alexander Gardner and Co [LOC].
In Video #30 Garry and Tim discuss why they think the first day’s battlefield is an unlikely location for the Harvest of Death. This video was taken facing northwest in August of 2016.
Here’s a Civil War photograph taken on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee where it’s clear that the Civil War view…This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
…definitely matches the modern view.This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
Here’s a Civil War photograph taken overlooking a pontoon bridge on the North Anna River, north of Richmond, Virginia…This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
…where the modern view was a clear match.This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
This Civil War photograph shows Mitchell’s Ford (Manassas, VA)…This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
…where as Garry put it, the modern view “just works.”This image is courtesy of Garry Adelman.
The hints, rules, and principles for those attempting to locate the sites of Civil War photographs. Please remember that you can click on this image (and all of our images) for a larger version.
10 more essentials for the Harvest of Death series
1. Use all five photos to get the best detail and breadth possible.
2. The views in both directions must match proposed sites. The cameraman took views in two different directions at an approximately 135 degree angle. Not 110, not 160—certainly not 180. This is absolute.
3. Anyone can find the Harvest of Death site. It need not be a known historian.
4. Avoid the “Moving Target Syndrome.” This means two things. First—if you want others to evaluate your proposed site, you can’t keep moving that site around. It’s hard to hit a moving target and is even harder for people to follow. Second, if, for instance, you have found your “good” view that you believe matches one of the Harvest of Death photographs and you can’t line up your “other” view at 135 degrees, you can’t move your spot to make the “other” view work without changing the view of your “good” photo.
5. It only takes one piece of period photographic evidence to prove any Harvest of Death theory wrong. Even if 100 other pieces of evidence support it.
6. The sites from which the Harvest of Death (and every other Civil War photograph) photos were recorded are fixed and absolute. No site is more correct than another—each proposed site is either perfectly right or perfectly wrong. Our not knowing where the photos were taken does not make any other site more correct.
7. The general terrain found in the Harvest of Death series is fairly common.
8. People are very easily convinced of proposed Harvest of Death sites. But this is not a popularity contest. See #4, above.
9. Do not publicize your theory as a success until you and other historians have completed all the steps on these lists and dealt with the contrary evidence.
10. Check 1-9 again.
This image was created facing north on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.