Whose Father Was He?

Errol Morris is a Broken Spines favorite and creator of the documentaries “The Fog of War” (for which he won an Academy Award) and “Standard Operating Procedure” amongst others.  In his blog on the NYTimes website, he’s is in the middle of a 5 part series, one part each day this week, on an unknown soldier who fell at Gettysburg.  The story begins with him clutching an ambrotype photograph of his three children, as it turns out the ambrotype was the only thing that could identify him.  A gentleman, by the name of Dr. Bourns, takes it upon himself to publish articles and otherwise conduct a search for the family of this unknown soldier.  So far, I’m riveted – you can find it here.  

It was a full moon the night he died.  Here is the picture of his three children he died holding:

On a related note, Broken Spines has considered reading “Republic of Suffering” by Drew Gilpin Faust (first female president of Harvard).  In the book, she addresses how the Civil War changed the way Americans view death – largely because of the scale of the death and carnage and the introduction of photography that captured it.  Also noteworthy was the grim innovation that came out of the Civil War, the Dog Tag.  

1 Response to “Whose Father Was He?”

  1. 1 bobbyjones April 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    January 2, 1863: “If I ever live to get home you will not complain of being lonesome again or of sleeping cold for I will lay as close to you as the bark to a tree.”


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