Hope I don't sound ignorant, but can someone briefly(if possible) describe to me what Grove's theory is. I have heard about a rebuttal to it, but not what the actual theory is. Probably was discussed on the old board.
The "Grove's Theory" that JD is refering to relates to the famous "Devil's Den Sharpshooter" photo. You know the one, the dead Confederate soldier lying in front of the two large boulders with a stone wall connecting them. Back in 1961, an art director for Civil War Times Illustrated determined that the body in the Devil's Den Sharpshooter photos was the same body in four other photographs by the same photographer at a location some distance away downhill from the famous Devil's Den site. In his books, William Frassanito, has presented the conclusion that the body was first photographed at the downhill location, then when they found the two rocks connected by the stone wall they realized they had a perfect setting and went back and moved the body up the hill and photographed the body there. This has been the "official" explaination for the photos since about 1975 or so. This is what you'll hear at the park, this is even what's presented on the Library of Congress website.
Jim Groves is a Civil War buff and painter. He has studied the six photographs of the body (2 uphill, 4 downhill) and has come to the opposite conclusion from Frassanito. Grove's theory is that the photographers found the body at the uphill location (rocks with wall) and photographed it there first. Then in an effort to prevent others (namely a sketch artist also in that area of the Battlefield that day) from capturing the same scene, they dragged the body downhill about 70 yards to the "downhill" location; then since this may have been the last "decent" body left on the field they took four more photo at the second location - taking care not to include a clear facial shot in order to hide the identity.
That's the basics. Before you jump in and start arguing the validity of the theory one way or another I recommend that you visit Jim Groves' website on this subject at http://www.bizspinner.com/wmg/henry/summary.htm
read what Groves has to say and look at the evidence he presents. Some of us believe Goroves is correct, others do not, and others aren't sure one way or the other.
I personally believe Groves' theory has more going for it than the Frassanito theory, but I would at least like to see both views presented equally by the official "Gettysburg Community" since it's unlikely that either can be proved to the satisfaction of all.
Hi Bill, I agree that it would be nice if the park would present both the Frassanito and Grove theorys on the sharpshooter. I lean toward the Grove report myself. Probably the biggest obstacle to the NPS presenting the Grove theory is that it could hurt Mr Frassanitos reputation. The Frassanito theory is ingrained into Gettysurg lore so deeply that to even question it is heresy to some. Before reading the Grove report I always had doubts(and still do a little) that the two bodies are the same. More than likely Bill is correct in his assertion that the real truth will never be known.