Rare Historic Photos Of American Civil War Providing A Glimpse Of America Over 150 Years Ago


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The American civil war is the central event in American history because it determined what kind of nation it would be. It was the deadliest war in American history. Over 600,000 soldiers died in the war. The fighting started at Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Although the photography was still in its infancy, however, some talented photographers produced thousands of photographs, bringing the harsh realities and destruction of war for the next generations. And some of these historic photographs were even colorized. also check colorized pictures of American Civil war

#1

American civil war historic photos

This September 1862 photo provided by the Library of Congress shows Allan Pinkerton on horseback during the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Before the outbreak of war, he had founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. In 1861, he famously foiled an alleged plot to assassinate president-elect Lincoln, and later served as the head of the Union Intelligence Service — the forerunner of the U.S. Secret Service.

#2

American civil war historic photos

Fort Sumter, South Carolina, April, 1861, under the Confederate flag. The first shots of the Civil War took place here, on April 12, 1861, as Confederate batteries opened fire on the Union fort, bombarding it for 34 straight hours. On April 13, Union forces surrendered and evacuated the fort. Union forces made many attempts to retake the fort throughout the war, but only took possession on February 22, 1865, after Confederate forces had evacuated Charleston.

#3

American civil war historic photos

Yorktown, Virginia, Embarkation for White House Landing, Virginia, Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862.

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American civil war historic photos

A captured Confederate encampment near Petersburg, Virginia, in June of 1864.

#5

American civil war historic photos

A view of Washington, District of Columbia, from the intersection of 3rd and Indiana Avenue, ca. 1863. In the foreground is Trinity Episcopal Church, in the background, the unfinished Capitol building. Construction on the capitol was briefly suspended early in the war, but continued through the later years.

#6

American civil war historic photos

Fortifications at Yorktown, Virginia, during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.

#7

American civil war historic photos

A March, 1863 photo of the USS Essex. The 1000-ton ironclad river gunboat, originally a steam-powered ferry, was acquired during the American Civil War by the US Army in 1861 for the Western Gunboat Flotilla. She was transferred to the US Navy in 1862 and participated in several operations on the Mississippi River, including the capture of Baton Rouge and Port Hudson in 1863.

#8

American civil war historic photos

The 150th Pennsylvania Infantry camp on Belle Plain, Virginia, is pictured in March 1862, three weeks before the Battle of Chancellorsville.

#9

American civil war historic photos

Morris Island, South Carolina. The shattered muzzle of a 300-pounder Parrott Rifle after it had burst, photographed in July or August of 1863.

#10

American civil war historic photos

On the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville, Tennessee, with covered guns (lower right) set up nearby, in 1864.

#11

American civil war historic photos

Inflation of the Intrepid, a hydrogen gas balloon used by the Union Army Balloon Corps for aerial reconnaissance. The the Balloon Corps operated a total of seven balloons, with the Intrepid being favored by Chief Aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe.

#12

American civil war historic photos

A scene in Alexandria, Virginia, in August of 1863. The storefront of 283 Duke St. reads “Price, Birch & Co., dealers in slaves”

#13

American civil war historic photos

Stacked cannon balls, possibly a view of an arsenal yard in Washington, District of Columbia,

#14

American civil war historic photos

Rebel prisoners waiting at Belle Plain, Virginia, for transportation

#15

American civil war historic photos

Wounded soldiers at rest near Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia. After the battle of Spotsylvania, in 1864.

#16

American civil war historic photos

The CSS Stonewall was a 1,390-ton ironclad built in Bordeaux, France, for the Confederate Navy in 1864. After she crossed the Atlantic, reaching Havana, Cuba, it was already May, 1865, and the war had ended. Spanish Authorities took possession, soon handing it over to the U.S. government.

#17

American civil war historic photos

A view of Andersonville Prison, Georgia, on August 17, 1864. Andersonville was an infamous Confederate Prisoner-of-war camp, where nearly 13,000 of its approximately 45,000 Union prisoners died in brutal conditions, suffering from starvation, disease, and abuse from their captors.

#18

American civil war historic photos

Union prisoners draw their rations in this view from main gate of Andersonville Prison, Georgia, on August 17, 1864.

#19

American civil war historic photos

Dead horses surround the damaged Trostle House, results of the Battle of Gettysburg, in July of 1863. Union general Major General Daniel Sickles used the farmhouse as a headquarters and Union and Confederate troops fought among the farm buildings during the fierce battle.

#20

American civil war historic photos

An execution in Washington, District of Columbia, on November 10, 1865. Henry Wirz, former commander of the Confederate prisoner of war camp near Andersonville, Georgia, was tried and hung after the war for conspiracy and murder related to his command of the notorious camp.

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American civil war historic photos

African Americans prepare cotton for a cotton gin on Smith’s plantation, Port Royal Island, South Carolina, in 1862.

#22

American civil war historic photos

Officers of the 69th Infantry New York, at Fort Corcoran, Virginia, with Col. Michael Corcoran.

#23

American civil war historic photos

A Federal encampment on the Pamunkey River, Cumberland Landing, Virginia, in May of 1862

#24

American civil war historic photos

“A harvest of death”, a famous scene from the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, in July of 1863

#25

American civil war historic photos

Federal cavalry at Sudley Ford, Virginia, following the battle of First Bull Run, in March of 1862.


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Sophia Charlotte
I am a Photographer, retoucher, writer and mother of beautiful daughter. I also colorize old photographs to give them new life.

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