Alexander Gardner, Civil War Fake News

By | December 28, 2018

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Meadow strewn with Confederate dead, photographed by Alexander Gardner two days after fighting had ceased during bloodiest battle of Civil War. Source: (Photo by Alexander Gardner/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Photography was a brand new invention at the time of the American Civil War and this new media was used to document the tragic results of battle. Alexander Gardner was one of the most famous Civil War photographers and the images he captured of the dead soldiers littering the battlefields are some of the best reminders we have about the devastating war. Gardner’s photos were published in newspapers around the country and helped to showcase the brutality of war. There was just one problem…it seems that many of Gardner’s photos were faked. 

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Who Was Alexander Gardner?

Born in Scotland in 1821, Alexander Gardner learned the techniques of photography before journeying to the United States in 1851. Portrait photography was very fashionable at the time and Gardner found full-time work as a photographer. When the Civil War broke out, Gardner was even busier with his work as families wanted photographs of their sons before they went off to war. Mathew Brady, a well-known photographer of the day, witnessed the Battle of Manassas and realized he could document the war with photos. He sent a team of photographers, including Gardner, to photograph battles and the aftermath. Gardner became the leading Civil War photographer and his images helped historians learn more about the fighting.