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Antietam 'Death Studies' Changed How We Saw War

In mid-September 1862, the Civil War was only a year and a half old, and many Americans in the North and the South still clung to the view that this war was a noble, glorious, even romantic undertaking. That notion was shattered forever when Alexander Gardner and his assistant James Gibson, working for photographer Mathew Brady's firm, came to Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Md.

Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and George McClellan's Army of the Potomac had collided there in a battle that was, and remains, the nation's bloodiest day. It was called a Union victory, though the cost on both sides was enormous — 23,000 men killed or wounded.

Up until that time, war photography had primarily depicted only the landscape and individual commanders, long after the fighting was done. Gardner and Gibson arrived at the battlefield before all of the soldiers' bodies had been buried, and they recorded a series of what they called "death studies" that, for the first time, showed the bloated, mutilated corpses that are the true aftermath of conflict.

The exhibition of those images, only a month after the battle, caused a sensation. A reporter for The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Major Bambi: Meet The Marine Who Was Disney's Famous Fawn

A gritty Marine, Donnie Dunagan fought in the Vietnam War and earned decorations for his service. But all his life, there was one thing this commander could never escape: He was the voice of Bambi.
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Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Ugandan chimps has found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
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The Politics Hour - July 31, 2015

Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

NPR

In Michigan, A Testing Ground For A Future Of Driverless Cars

Automakers and researchers are using a 32-acre fake city at the University of Michigan to simulate a real-world environment for autonomous vehicles. How will such cars affect urban planning?

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