The only verified photo of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg not the only one claims an Assistant Professor

The only verified photo of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg not the only one claims an Assistant Professor

Photo story:  (Clockwise from top left) (1) Republican president Lincoln appointed Pennsylvania Democrat McClellan chief of all Union army, sitting together after Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, 1962 (2) The only verified photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, Josephine Cobb of National Archives identified it in 1952 (3) In 2007, director of Center for Civil War photography, John Richter identified a person as Lincoln in a photo captured by well-known Alexander Gardner 150 years ago (4) Christopher Oakley, an assistant professor of University of North Carolina-Asheville (5) In March, 2013, Oakley claims to have spotted Lincoln elsewhere in the same image

After the great victory of the Union at the Battle of Gettysburg, 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had defined democracy as a government of the people, by the people & for the people at the famous Gettysburg Address. Since then it has become the most quoted speech in the history of America. The camera never lies; it can reveal history even after 150 years. An assistant professor of University of North Carolina-Asheville, Christopher Oakley thinks so as he claims an Abraham Lincoln photo find of the last 61 years. The reports:

Former Disney animator Oakley along with undergraduate researchers have been working on a 3-D animation project called Virtual Lincoln for the last two years. The digital image reproduction and animation project is scheduled to be completed before 19th November, 2013, the 150th anniversary of the historical Lincoln speech. Oakley was studying one of the Gettysburg Address images captured by famous civil war photographer Alexander Gardner. While capturing the image 150 years ago, Gardner used a new technique of the time called stereograph where two lenses produced photo at a time that resulted in a 3 dimensional image if seen through a type of early View-Master.

Oakley first spotted the hawk like profile of Lincoln’s secretary of state William H. Seward in Gardner’s first stereo plate. The superimposing of one of his well known image and the suspected image made Oakley believe that it was the secretary and assumed that the President Lincoln can’t be far away as he knew from one indisputable photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg that Seward sat near Lincoln on the speech platform. Oakley said that everything ‘lined up beautifully’.

Further examining the 4 by 10 inches glass plate negative, to Seward’s left he discovered the bearded figure in the stovepipe hat and screamed out ‘No way!’. He exclaimed with joy that it was him. Oakley has come to conclusion that the Richter’s discovery of Lincoln in 2007 in the same image had longer hair, fuller beard and service stripes on his shoulders which contradicts that it was him. He says that Lincoln would have worn a plain overcoat and wouldn’t have been saluting the soldiers as it wasn’t a presidential custom back then. Oakley also said that his finding just clarifies the record a bit. He also said that he discovered Gardner himself posing in the photo that meant that Gardner’s assistant might have taken the photo.

Mohammad Rafi Saad

Mohammad Rafi Saad is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE