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John Reekie

Active in:

  • Washington, District of Columbia

Biography

Reekie was briefly employed during the Civil War by Mathew Brady, but his work is best known to us as part of Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Accompanying this image [Ruins of Gaines' Mill, Virginia, SAAM, 1994.91.155] was a caption written by Alexander Gardner:

Gaines' Mill is the place from which the battle of June 27th, 1862 takes its name. Situated near the center of our line, it was the scene of severe fighting, and at the close of that bloody day, the building was used as a hospital. All of the structure that would burn, was destroyed in one of the raids around Richmond, leaving only the brick superstructure, above which, scorched by the fire, the dead tress spread their blackened branches. In front, the partially exposed skeleton illustrates the hasty manner of the solider's burial, it being by no means uncommon for the rains to wash away the shallow covering, and bring to view the remains of the dead. The owner of the mill did not have a creditable reputation in the army … if this is true, he suffered no more than his deserts, in the destruction of his property.

Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)