Press enter after choosing selection

Battles As They Are

Battles As They Are image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

It is strange that some enterprising and courageous photographer has not bit upon the idea oí' " taking "■ battles as they are in progress. Of battlefield views, with dead and wounded soldiers tind boises, broken oaunon, and splinlered trees upon them, we have a sufficiency, but of battles none. It is nonsense to say that pictures of battles cannot be taken. If a boulevard in Paris, the strand in London, and our own Broadway can be instantaneously fixed upon'the sensitive paper, with nll their teeming life - clear weil deíined, why cannot a battle, with its ekirmishers, its deploying columns, its grand assault and its victory ? A little oí the courage and coolness which the common soldier feels are all that iris requisite for such work. The ecientih'c obatacles are removed long ago. What a deep and touching interest would attach to such pictures ! Think of seeing a battle as the soldiers see it, without any of the incidental dangers. In looking at the pictures of battles as the illustrated papers givethem, we are aware that they are to a great extent imaginary. Some of tt;o details may be correct, but the greater part ol ihem are thrown in for effect. It is customnry, ior instance, to place the comrnanding General in advance, and exposed to the tire of irieud and enerny ; whereÁS; ia íact, he is eupervising the contest frotn an eminenco in the rear, where he ought to be. Crossing bayoneta, and hand to hand encounters with bowie knives are common among the comtnonest incidents of these pictures, whereas but very few wejl authenticated examples of cither have occurred during the war. The great historical pictures of battles which adorn the palace9 nf the old vvorld, and copies oí which are familiar to everybody, are purely works of imiigination taken by arlifts that were not present at them. They are designed to be eöective groupings without the slightest regard to actual facte. The main purpose of the artist is to i'atter the sovereign by whom he is employed and the nation to which be beongs. Photographs of battle.s, taken r.t a moment when the curtain oí smoke was lifted, would show the exact truth without flattery or íavor. A regiment that was charging the enemy's ranks could be identified in the act by the application of the microscope. A regiment that was throwing away its mus kets in ignoble flight would have that iittle occurrence proved upon them in a manner that could not not be gain'sayed. Brave men, however they might be neglected in brigade or división reports, would be done full justice to here. A series oí pictures taken at intervals a battle up to the moment of supreme victory - or d3Íeat - would give a better idea of the engagement as it was fought than the colored accounts of a score of correspondents. It is the province of photography alone to teil the truth of battles to history.


Old News
Michigan Argus