3-D image might show Lincoln at Gettysburg
Hanover’s John Richter has made the news after finding what could be an image of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in the Library of Congress’ digital archives. The man with the top hat is presumed to be Lincoln.
“It certainly looked liked him to me,” a headline on Jeff Frantz’s York Sunday News story said.
That was the reaction of many after many saw the steroscopes of what is believed to be Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg.
The full story follows:
The oohs and aahhs started when they put on the 3-D glasses.
The blurry image projected onto the screen Saturday at the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg became clear.
In the foreground, four officers sat around a campfire, a tree and tents behind them and a stone farmhouse off in the distance. Each element looked real and set in its own distinct space.
“Holy cow,” someone in the crowd said.
“This is awesome,” said another.
And that was just the test slide.
The main attraction of the half-hour presentation – created by Bob Zeller and Hanover’s John Richter of the Center for Civil War Photography – were two newly discovered images that Zeller and Richter believe to be Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg.
Richter found the images in two stereoscope pictures taken Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery. Those stereoscopes, early 3-D pictures, had been in the Library of Congress, and Richter spied what he thinks is the 16th president last February in an online scanning.
There has been only one confirmed image of Lincoln at Gettysburg.
When the crowd scenes are shown in two dimensions, most of the figures are compressed, and the purported Lincoln is but a speck.
But in Saturday’s 3-D show, forum members saw what appeared to be a column formed by Union soldiers through which a man in a top hat rode a horse. In the second image, the possible Lincoln appears to be saluting the troops with his left hand, on which he wore a white riding glove.
Zeller theorized that Lincoln had not previously been found because few had studied the image in 3-D, as it was intended to be seen.
“Once they developed the negatives, they were probably disappointed because they couldn’t see (Lincoln) in there,” Zeller said. “They probably saw a bunch of kids mugging for the camera in the foreground and thought they couldn’t sell it.”
There is still uncertainty about whether this image shows Lincoln.
Zeller and Richter said they welcome anyone who could definitively prove if this is or isn’t Lincoln. One scholar has already told them he is skeptical.
But most people in the crowd Saturday were ready to believe.
“If I was forced to bet, I’d say yes,” said Robert Foster, a historian from Massachusetts. “The probability is yes. It certainly looked like him to me.”
Most say there will always be some doubt about the image.
“He teases us,” said Harold Holzer, the co-chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. “He only shows us a quarter of his face, and he’s never going to turn around and show us any more.”
Something else caused a stir among the crowd. During his closing remarks, Zeller told the forum members that hundreds of other Civil War images exist, waiting for a thorough online examination, meaning other rare finds could be waiting for discovery.
“Count me in,” Foster said.