Was this a German forge or a British forge or French or American? The shape of the anvil suggests that an American farrier was working here.
The trench warfare in this region was legendary. The wet soil couldn't withstand the stress of the war and any advances had to be via roads, bridges, and ramps that had to be engineered and built first. Large artillery couldn't move because the horses couldn't pull through the mud and the temporary structures, like the stick road you see in this photo, couldn't hold their weight.
It looks like the off horse in this team stepped off the little roadway that had been built out of sticks; that's why the near horse is able to stand. I wonder if this horse was able to get out. Many horses were listed as "drowned in mud".
The battle is long remembered as the costliest ever in US military history: 115,000 Americans were among the 300,000 soldiers on both sides who died there. And then...the war was over.
The church image is in the collection of the New York Public Library. It is courtesy of of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site, www.hoofcare.com, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to email@example.com.
Follow Hoofcare + Lameness on Twitter: @HoofcareJournal
Read this blog's headlines on the Hoofcare + Lameness Facebook Page
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any direct compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned, other than Hoofcare Publishing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.