Plate 57. Camp Architecture


Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.

The ingenuity and taste of the American soldier is strikingly illustrated in the variety of architecture with which he adorns his summer quarters. A permanent camp is invariably surrounded by evergreens; and if a regiment bivouac but for a day, the spot will long after be marked by the leafy bowers erected before each tent. The forests are ransacked for the brightest foliage, branches of the pine, cedar, and holly are laboriously collected, and the work of beautifying the quarters continued as long as material can be procured. Camps are surrounded with neat hedges, arches bearing the corps badge and other devices are erected at the entrances, and the tents sheltered from the sun by roofs of deftly woven twigs and leaves. Sometimes a framework is erected around a number of tents, upon which is fastened a thick covering of evergreens, completely hiding the interior, and forming a home delightfully cool, even in the hottest days. Thus secluded, the wives of officers, in their brief visits to the front, find a most pleasant abiding place, from which they return with reluctance to city homes. An indescribable charm surrounds such life. There is the glittering show of the army, all the beauty that skill can add to nature's work, and an endless round of festivity like that of the merriest picnic.

A camp thus embowered, with the regiments parading, the arms glittering like silver, and the music of the bands swelling on the breeze, presents a scene of beauty rarely excelled. Its recollections are treasured among the happiest memories of the field, and many a country woman will wear a brighter dress for the lessons of adornment army life has taught.

Date Made: 1864-01

Maker: Gardner, Alexander

Location: Currently not on view

Related Event: Civil War


See more items in: Work and Industry: Photographic History, Gardner's Sketchbook, Military, Engineering, Building, and Architecture, Photography


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1986.0711.0283.07Accession Number: 1986.0711Catalog Number: 1986.0711.0283.07

Object Name: albumen photograph

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm


Record Id: nmah_1294266

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