BARNARD, George N. (1819-1902)
Battle Ground of Resacca, Ga. No. 2
. Albumen photograph from a negative taken in 1866, 10 3/4 x 14 1/4 inches, on period card mount, 18 x 22 inches. Title caption attached. Excellent impression,
A stunning Civil War landscape image by Barnard.
This image was used by Barnard in his Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign (plate 20), but is here separately printed at a contemporary date in slightly larger format than the image in the book without clouds superimposed and on a period mount.
" Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign is a remarkable work of great symbolic, historic, and artistic power. It is a result of a complex interweaving of Barnard's personal vision, nineteenth-century pictorial conventions, and larger ideas about war and the American landscape. The album was the most ambitious project of Barnard's career, and has long been recognized as a landmark in the history of photography" (Davis p.170).
Barnard's album embraces 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.
Barnard's album would be the first great landscape photobook, "but it is a wounded, brutalized land -- gouged and scarred and broken. Its tone is stoically calm, yet bleak, and is all the more so for being so lucidly understated ... [Barnard] shows himself to have been one of the finest landscape photographers, treating those culturally loaded Civil War sites -- already in the process of becoming mythic when he pictured them -- with respect, but also with a matter-of-factness that is heroic in itself, and served to punctuate the hyperbole of myth" (Parr and Badger).
The Battle of Resaca was the first confrontation of the Atlanta Campaign between Sherman and Joseph Johnston. It occurred in May of 1864. Though the outcome of the battle was inconclusive, the Confederates were forced to retreat farther south toward Atlanta.
Keith F. Davis. George N. Barnard Photographer of Sherman's Campaig n (Kansas City: 1990); Parr and Badger, The Photobook: A Histor y, vol. I, p. 45. Cf. De Renne p.1317; cf. Howes B150, "b."; cf. Sabin 3462; cf. Taft Photography and the American Scene pp.232 & 486.