6.19.2011

Civil war photos

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When these photos were released in a special Civil War Faces collection by the Library of Congress, I was fascinated by the mostly unidentified photos of soldiers, women, children, and even a few horses snuck in a photo or two. The Civil War was never something I was enthusiastic about, I suppose because, living on the west coast, we were never educated about it extensively. This summer I'm doing a bit of traveling (more on that later), and hope to learn a bit more, and maybe see some Civil War related sights.
Here's just a few portraits that stood out to me, but I would recommend checking out the entire collection, it really is interesting to look at and wonder about the people long gone. There are your expected facial hair sporting men with guns and knives, but also boys clearly not old enough to enlist, african american soldiers, women in plaits and crinolines, sailors, and dare I say a few soldier portraits that look quite a bit female.

As for the first photo: What a heartbreaker!

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..........Little girl holding a photo of her father..........
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..........Silly boys..........
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..........My first impression was "female" but I'll never know..........
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..........The lighting in this is haunting..........
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.........Notice how her shears are in a special loop on her skirt..........
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..........Another handsome young man..........

28 comments:

Sara said...

Wow, truly handsome men!

Thank you for sharing!

*Katia* said...

absolutely wonderful pictures

Suzanne said...

There are lots of Civil War Re-enactments in the midwest so check it out before you start traveling. It's a great chance to have a living history lesson. The camps and the clothing are authentic. For more about the Civil War read the book, "This Cruel War" which is an almost complete set of letters between husband and wife Grant and Malinda Taylor during his service in the Civil War.

casey said...

Having grown up right in the midst of "Civil War territory", and spent many a summer afternoon wandering battlefields and gazing at houses still bearing the bullet and cannon scars from so long ago, these are utterly fascinating! I was a bit of a CW geek for a bit when I was younger, and still never tire of reading about it and studying photos of those who were alive at the time. Thanks for linking to that collection--I dare say I'm going to be spending a lot of my free time this evening digging through it! ;)

DearHelenHartman said...

They are hauntingly lovely. We have ancestors who fought on both sides and some mementos but no photos. Fascinating.

Emily & Gracie said...

What a great post! Being from Atlanta, it used to feel like the Civil War/Civil Rights was sometimes ALL we learned about up until 11th grade, and it used to bore me, but now I find myself drawn to these eras of history. I've never seen these pictures before, and they were very interesting! Especially the cigar guys and the female(?) soldier and, ahem, the handsome soldiers. Thanks for sharing!
- Emily

senjiva said...

I love these. Thank you for sharing. Those two gals are weavers. I recognise the boat shuttles. I guess it's time to watch Cold Mountain...again!

So Yeah So said...

I love daguerreotypes so much. Civil War era ones tend to be pretty rare, because a lot of them were used for their glass in green houses and faded out over time.

If you really want a very interesting and thorough look at the Civil War, check out Ken Burns' documentary, "The Civil War." I just watched it on Netflix.

arty_ilma said...

Thank you from Moscow for sharing! I love such photos very much!

The English Romantic said...

Fabulous pictures, such amazing looking people.

misc-maranda said...

i agree about the 'female' soldier too, that was my first impression before i even saw your comment!

sarah said...

These are fascinating, I love these! The "woman" soldier is especially interesting. Being from Georgia, I have always been fascinated by the Civil War. There was actually a civil war hospital in the field behind my house, and that knowledge fascinates me to no end!

I definitely agree with the other suggestion about the Ken Burns documentary, "The Civil War". If you haven't seen it, I really recommend it.

Mademoiselle Maladroite said...

Being form Germany, I don't know that much about the Civil War as it's not part of the history of my country. But I definitely love those photographs. And I have to agree with the first one. He really is a heartbreaker. ;)
Thanks for sharing.

Miss Marie said...

Wouldn't be the first (or last) time a girl has dressed up as a boy in order to join the fighting!

Q's Daydream said...

I loveeee these!

Diva said...

Great post. When you look into the eyes of all these people long gone it strikes me how similar we are at heart even though the world has changed since then. These carefully kept portraits remind us of how, in the end, love is all that matters... For a brother, father, sister, mother... Thanks!

Katie said...

love 1800's photography. so interesting...i find myself wondering what their stories are. these are amazing--thanks for sharing!

maraley said...

That really does look like a women. These portraits are so hauntingly beautiful. . .

dahhlayne said...

Crazy to think that today, it is normal for us to smile in photos, while in that era, it was normal for them to do the opposite. I feel that with people not smiling, you can tell their expressions more through their eyes. Gorgeous photos.

forte-espressivo.blogspot.com

Erin said...

The man who looks like a woman (or just a woman who is doing a terrible job impersonating a man?) look a lot like the actress Sigourney Weaver. And the man below that looks like Zac Efron!

Terra Fortner said...

These are so interesting! As someone Katie said, I wonder what their stories are?

Kestrel said...

Really interesting. I work in a museum that has thousands of photos without names, which seems so sad that these people are lost forever, in a way. Always write names on the back of your photos! :)

Colleen said...

Civil war hotties! Yeah, that one soldier really looks female. I wish we could know their stories!

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

Love these!!!! The two women with the shears reminds me of how Mrs. Ingalls did her hair in the books. . her daughters never knew what her ears looked like. I thought that one soldier looked like a girl at first too but looking at him again I saw a boy way too young to be in the military!

Sean MacKenzie said...

I agree, that last pic of the young man....VERY HANDSOME indeed! And that one pic you thought the soldier looked feminine, most likely was a woman in disguise. So many women fought in the civil war and if they weren't wounded, were never found out.

Emily Rose said...

these are great! i'm really into american history, the civil was especially. i really love new england because of all the history, i live in new york. also my dads side of the family has been in america for a long time, my grandmothers side since the 1600s! so i have several family members who fought in the civil war. unfortunately, on the confederate side.

toridawn said...

Old photos like this are so beautiful, especially in person. The depth of the photos gets lost in translation when scanned to the computer: don't you think?

Emelie Öberg said...

Lovly photos! And the last young man is indeed very handsome. The age of the photo makes dem even more handsome i think hihi:)