“The Very Life of Camp”
Many of the photographs Gardner chose to include in his Sketch Book depict mundane moments of the soldier’s life. The detailed examination of the unglamorous aspects of life in military encampments testifies to the familiarity that Gardner and his photographers enjoyed inside the camps. Cities of tents, post offices, blacksmiths—all became subjects for the camera. The images also bring insight into the leisure time spent by soldiers, both through David Knox’s image of a cock fight, and through Gardner’s verbal description of sports, games and regimental pets. Finally, James Gardner’s Breaking Camp (detail, right) offers a view of a camp dismantled, its text, written after the war, is a nostalgic ode to a way of life gone by.
16. Inspection of Troops at Cumberland Landing
Breaking Camp. Brandy Station, near Culpeper, Virginia May, 1864 Photographed by James Gardner
© 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript