The Civil War, Part 1: The Places
Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue. Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. As brother fought brother and the nation's future grew uncertain, the public appetite for information was fed by these images from the trenches, rivers, farms, and cities that became fields of battle. Today's collection is part 1 of 3, covering the places of the Civil War: the battleships, prisons, hospitals, urban centers, and rural pastures where history was made. Tomorrow's installment features some of the people involved in the conflict, and on Friday I'll be sharing some of the amazing three-dimensional stereographs of the war. Keep in mind, as you view these photographs, that they were taken 150 years ago -- providing a glimpse of a United States that was only 85 years old at the time.
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.
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.
Yorktown, Virginia, Embarkation for White House Landing, Virginia, Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Peninsular Campaign, May-August 1862.
A captured Confederate encampment near Petersburg, Virginia, in June of 1864.
A view of Washington, D.C. 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.
Fortifications at Yorktown, Virginia, during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.
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.
The 150th Pennsylvania Infantry camp on Belle Plain, Virginia, is pictured in March 1862, three weeks before the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Morris Island, South Carolina. The shattered muzzle of a 300-pounder Parrott Rifle after it had burst, photographed in July or August of 1863.
On the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville, Tennessee, with covered guns (lower right) set up nearby, in 1864.
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.
A scene in Alexandria, Virginia, in August of 1863. The storefront of 283 Duke St. reads "Price, Birch & Co., dealers in slaves"
Stacked cannon balls, possibly a view of an arsenal yard in Washington, D.C.
Rebel prisoners waiting at Belle Plain, Virginia, for transportation