Civil War Photos – Part 1 (20 Historical Photos)

Civil War Photos – Part 1 (20 Historical Photos)

Civil War Photos – Part 1

Photography was still a relatively new technology during the American Civil War, but war correspondents managed to capture thousands of riveting photos throughout the conflict. These graphic images brought the front line of the war straight to the people of the United States and the entire world. These historic photos showed everyone exactly what the battle was really like, from the perspective of the trenches, farms, prisons, battleships, hospitals and cities that were engulfed by the war. These photos also portrayed the human side of war by showcasing generals, slaves, soldiers, politicians and others that lived and died during these turbulent times in our American history.

Below is a sampling of 20 astonishing Civil War photos. This is Part 1 of an ongoing series. View Part 2 of our Civil War photos collection here. You can also view Part 3 – Civil War Women here.

President Lincoln on Battlefield Alexander Gardner - October 1862 1. President Abraham Lincoln on the Battlefield Alexander Gardner – Maryland, Antietam. October 1862.  (Library of Congress archives.)

Wounded Soldiers Marye's Heights - Fredericksburg 2. Civil War Photos – Wounded soldiers resting near Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia. This was after the battle of Spotsylvania. ca 1864.  (Mathew Brady/NARA)

Fort Sumter South Carolina - 18613. Confederate flag flying at Fort Sumter, South Carolina – April 1861.  The first shots of the American Civil War took place at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.  Confederate troops opened fire on the Union fort, attacking it for 34 relentless hours.  The next day, on April 13, 1861, Union forces surrendered and left the fort. (NARA)

Civil War Photos - USS Essex 4. March 1863 – Civil War photo of the USS Essex. Originally a steam-powered ferry boat, the ship was converted into a 1000-ton ironclad river gunboat. The USS Essex saw action in several Civil War operations on the Mississippi River. (LOC)

Civil War Photos - Officers of the 69th Infantry New York 5. Civil War Photos – Col. Michael Corcoran posing with officers of the 69th Infantry New York, at Fort Corcoran, Virginia. (Mathew Brady/NARA)

Civl War Photo - September 1862 - Allan Pinkerton on horseback During the Battle of Antietam Near Sharpsburg Maryland 6. September 1862 – Library of Congress Civil War photo showing Allan Pinkerton sitting on horseback during the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Before the Civil War started, Mr. Pinkerton founded the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. (LOC)

Civil War Photos - William Tecumseh Sherman 7. West Point United States Military Academy graduate, William Tecumseh Sherman. Tecumseh served as a General in the Union Army and commanded several campaigns, including the capture of both Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia during “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” (Matthew Brady/NARA)

Amputation in a Field Hospital, Gettysburg 8. Amputation in a Field Hospital, battle of Gettysburg. (LOC)

Washington DC Construction of the Capitol building During Civil War 9. View of Washington, DC ca 1863. This view is from the intersection of 3rd and Indiana Avenue and shows Trinity Episcopal Church in the foreground and construction of the Capitol building in the background. (LOC)

Civil War Photos - Execution in Washington, District of Columbia, on November 10, 1865 10. Public execution in Washington, DC – November 10, 1865. Henry Wirz was tried and hung after the war ended for charges of conspiracy and murder related to his command of the horrendous Confederate prisoner of war camp near Andersonville, Georgia. (LOC)

150th Pennsylvania Infantry - Belle Plain - Virginia - March 1862 11. March 1862 – 150th Pennsylvania Infantry camp at Belle Plain, Virginia.  This was three weeks prior to the Battle of Chancellorsville. (LOC)

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879 12. Frederick Douglass – ca 1879. Douglass was born a slave in Maryland, but escaped slavery as a young man and went on to become an influential social reformer and leader of the abolitionist movement. (George K. Warren/NARA)

Civil War Photo - First Federal army wagon train entering Petersburg 13. April 1865 – The first Federal army wagon train arriving at the town of Petersburg, Virginia. (John Reekie/LOC)

American Civil War - Andersonville Prison, Georgia, on August 17, 1864 14. Approximately 13,000 of 45,000 prisoners died while being kept outside in brutally harsh conditions at the infamous Andersonville Prison, Georgia. Prisoners died from the weather, starvation, disease and beatings by their Confederate captors. August 17, 1864. (LOC)

Lone Grave near Antietam, Maryland -September 1862 15. A rather serene looking photo of a lone grave (center bottom) near Antietam, Maryland – September 1862. (Alexander Gardner/LOC)

Peter - A slave from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ca 1863 16. Three photos of a slave named Peter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana – ca 1863. The scars are from whippings by his overseer Artayou Carrier, who was fired by the master. These pictures of Peter were widely circulated in the North during the Civil War to show the brutality by some slavers. It took more than two months for Peter – sometimes also called Gordon – to recover from the beating. Peter was eventually freed and later enlisted in the Union Army. (NARA)

Tennessee State Capitol building during the Civil War 17. Civil War photo from the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol – Nashville, Tennessee – 1864. Note the covered guns in the lower right. (George N. Barnard/LOC)

Civil War Photo - Soldiers of the VI Corps, Army of the Potomac 18. Soldiers from the VI Corps, Army of the Potomac before storming Marye’s Heights at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg – Chancellorsville campaign, Virginia. This photograph, taken in May 1863 ( #B-157), is sometimes incorrectly labeled as being taken at the 1864 Siege of Petersburg, Virginia. (LOC)

Civil War Photos - Union General Herman Haupt 19. This photo, taken sometime between 1860-1865, shows civil engineer turned Union General Herman Haupt moving across the Potomac River in a self-invented one-man pontoon boat Haupt made for scouting and bridge inspection. Haupt graduated from West Point in 1835 and was the chief of construction and transportation of U.S. military railroads during the Civil War. (LOC)

Shattered Muzzle of 300-pounder Parrott Rifle - Morris Island - South Carolina - July or August of 1863 20. This Civil War photo shows the shattered muzzle of a 300-pounder Parrott Rifle after it had burst.  Morris Island, South Carolina – July or August of 1863. (Haas & Peale/LOC)


Want to see more Civil War Photographs? Be sure to check out our Civil War Photos – Part 2…

And, Part 3 – Women of the Civil War…

Sources and further reading:

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