BARNARD, George N. (1819-1902)
Savannah, Ga. No. 2.
[New York: 1866]. Albumen photograph from a negative taken in 1866, 10 x 14 inches, on original two-tone gilt-edged thin card mount, 16 1/8 x 20 inches, with plate title and photographer's credit. Image somewhat faded; mild discolouration in places; mount creased upper left; occasional foxing mostly in the mount.
A stunning image from Barnard's 'Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign', an album which is one of the two greatest photographic monuments to the Civil War and 'a landmark in the history of photography' (Keith F. Davis). A contemporary reviewer wrote of this image and its companions: 'These photographs... surpass any other photographic views which have been produced in this country - whether relating to the war or otherwise' ('Harper's Weekly', 8 December, 1866, p.771)
This image comes from George N. Barnard's album titled Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign, embracing scenes of the occupation of Nashville, the great battles around Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, the campaign of Atlanta, March to the Sea, and the Great Raid through the Carolinas (1866). This album, together with Alexander Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War (1866) are the two greatest photographic monuments of the Civil War. Between them, they contain some of the most famous images of the War. This handsome example of this photograph shows the warehouses on the Savannah River looking south, which may well have contained some of the 250,000 bales of cotton that Sherman mentioned in the telegram to Lincoln in which he offered Savannah as a Christmas present. It is in any event a wonderful photograph illustrating one of the great non-casualties of the war. When Sherman arrived at the outskirts of Savannah and connected with the U. S. Naval forces on the coast, the destruction and agony of the city appeared to be inevitable. However, the Conferate troops evacuated the city and the Mayor surrendered, and Savannah was spared. The bright sunny day enhanced by Barnard's transposition of a sunny sky above the horizon, enhancing the overall feeling of peace and prosperity. (Note two steamboats and a tall ship docked across the river, and other ships downstream).
Cf. De Renne p.1317; cf. Howes B150, "b."; cf. Sabin 3462; cf. Taft Photography and the American Scene pp.232 & 486. See also: George N. Barnard Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign... with a new preface by Beaumont Newhall New York: 1977 Keith F. Davis. George N. Barnard Photographer of Sherman's Campaign Kansas City, Miss.: 1990.