Some of the most famous photographs taken on any Civil War battlefield were taken by the crew of Alexander Gardner on July 5, 1863. These photographs, taken at the Rose Farm, show Confederate dead from Georgia and/or South Carolina as they attempted to advance across the fields towards Rose’s woods. There have been wooden fences in this area at the same spot where the photographs show the fences were in 1863. In places those fences had been knocked down or had rails missing so that those interested in seeing where the photographs were taken could have access. Now cows have broken through the fences, and the National Park Service wants to make them taller and stronger. Their reconstruction of the fences will make access to this point more difficult.
The National Park Service is reconstructing these “worm” or “saw buck” fences on the west side of Rose’s Woods. In this area famous photographs of dead Confederates made by Alexander Gardner and his photography crew were taken on July 5, 1863. This view was taken from the northwest facing southeast at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
The National Park Service has a wayside exhibit here showing some of the photographs taken in this area. Visitors used to be able to go through, over, or around the wooden fences at this location to see where the photographs were taken. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
The National Park Service started on this work at the beginning of the week, and for the first three days, two pickup trucks were here to unload the rails needed for the fences. This view was taken from the northeast facing southwest at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
These gentlemen building the fences are not National Park Service employees, but employees of the S.T.E.P. program (Student Temporary Employment Program). The fences will be taller than shown here. The crew has run out of rails, and the Park Service will not be able to supply them with more for “six weeks,” or sometime at the end of July and the beginning of August. This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
The fences stretch along the woods to the northwest. They are reconstructed here because cows, seen in the background, have been jumping over, or escaping through the previous fences. The Peach Orchard is the high ground in the distance. This view was taken from the southeast facing northwest at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
Here a member of the S.T.E.P. crew shows the Gettysburg Daily how tall the fences will be after the other rails arrive. The photographs at the time of the battle do not show the fences being this tall. It appears that the Park Service is attempting to balance historical accuracy with the desire to rent these fields out to farmers with their livestock. This view was taken from the east facing west at approximately 12:45 PM on Thursday, June 19, 2008.