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 will be Part 1 of an ongoing series we will be adding to the site in the near future.
1. President Abraham Lincoln on the Battlefield Alexander Gardner – Maryland, Antietam. October 1862.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (LOC.gov #B-157), is sometimes incorrectly labeled as being taken at the 1864 Siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
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.