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Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Quarters of Men in Fort Sedgwick, Known as Fort Hell
1865
albumen print
7 5/8 x 10 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Two men in white coats inspect a scene that reeks of death and destruction. Under a thin layer of bare earth is a network of entrenchments propped up with logs and boards that withstood nearly a yearlong standoff culminating in the Confederate Army’s surrender near Petersburg, Virginia. The only thing left standing is the blasted, barren tree, bravely rising above the horizon.