Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Timothy H. O'Sullivan

Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1868, by Alexander Gardner

Following the Union capture of Fort Fisher in January 1865, Timothy H. O'Sullivan arrived to capture the fort yet again — through the lens of a camera. His remarkable series of images of the battle-ravaged fort provides a telling visual chronicle of Fisher's main structures and components.

In these haunting images, the devastation wrought upon Fort Fisher by the Union naval bombardment is unmistakable.

O'Sullivan began his career as an apprentice to the famous photographer Mathew Brady. In the early stages of the American Civil War, he left the Brady gallery and soon joined the studio of Alexander Gardner.

O'Sullivan is recognized as one of the most important field photographers of his era. This distinction later earned him a position with the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, the first survey of the American West. He returned to Washington, D.C., in 1874 and made prints for the Army Corps of Engineers, and later became chief photographer for the United States Treasury. He died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-one.


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