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Selected Civil War Photographs

November 27, 2012

Found In: arts, social studies, 9-12

Civil War Photograph Collections

General Isaac I. Stevens, Beaufort, S.C. (1862)

Selected Civil War Photographs features 1,118 photographs of battle scenes and military personnel. Users can search by keyword or browse by subject. A timeline includes photographs by year (1861-65) and in a group that could not be put in chronological order.

Two hundred more autographed portraits of army and navy officers, politicians, and cultural figures were collected by John Hay in the Civil War Photograph Album.

Additional images can be found in Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints, which includes about 7,000 images made during the American Civil War. A slide show of samples is included.

Activities: Photographic Forensics

Does The Camera Ever Lie? is a special feature that reveals photographer Alexander Gardner sometimes departed from fact in his photographs and writing compiling his 1865 Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War. Two examples are presented:

An additional case is Solving a Civil War Photograph Mystery in which an image of U.S. Grant is examined to determine its authenticity.

For older students, particularly those pursuing photography or digital forensics, Errol Morris has written about truth in photography in a book titled Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography. A three-part New York Times essay became part of the book. The essay “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?” investigates differences in two versions of a famous photograph from the Crimean War.



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