Photography during Civil War

an HMS American Cultures collaborative production

The Civil War was one of the first wars in history to be documented throughexternal image cooley-thumb.jpg photography. The art of preserving pictures was a difficult, trying process that required skill and patience with spectacular results for that time period. During the time of the civil war, photographers drove their equipment around in a covered wagon drawn by horses. To develop a picture, a glass sheet would first be doused in chemicals, then immersed in a new solution in total darkness. Once this was completed, the glass was inserted into the camera already focused and placed perfectly. The glass would then quickly be "exposed" to the subject, and rushed back to the darkroom to be developed. If one step didn't go as planned, the process would have to be repeated from the beginning with a new glass plate.

Though photography was a difficult trade at the time, it had astounding affects on the citizens of America back home waiting for their loved ones to return. Before photography, painters would interpret the battles through their eyes, and take liberty with what theexternal image 00915r.jpgy saw. By taking photos, those not present at the battle could see the frank horrors that actually occurred at the battle. Most Americans were terrified at the sight of their fellow Americans suffering on the battlefield, but perhaps this sudden exposure on the bloodshed that war induces had a beneficial affect on the country.

Some well-known photographers from both the North and South are...

Mathew Brady
Alexander Gardner
George Barnard
Timothy O'Sullivan
James F. Gibson

George S. Cook
Robert M. Smith

Online Sources:

The American Civil War Photo Gallery. < /history-of-civilwar-photography.html>. <>.

Wikipedia. <>.

Image Sources: