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Barefoot Confederates

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Barefoot Confederates? -Hardly - Shelby Foote’s Favorite Civil War Photograph

Ephraim Blevins, John Baldwin and Andrew Blevins (Ephraim’s father), left to right, posed for a photo by Matthew Brady after they were captured at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

In one of the most famous photographs of the Civil War, three captured Confederate soldiers, likely from Louisiana, pose for Mathew Brady on Seminary Ridge following the Battle of Gettysburg. The extraordinary clarity of the image allows viewers to study the soldiers’ uniforms and accoutrements, but the historian Shelby Foote has focused more on their body language.

“You see something in his attitude toward the camera that’s revealing of his nature,” he told the filmmaker Ken Burns, “… as if he is having his picture made but he’s determined to be the individual that he is.” Other scholars have challenged this romantic view.

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