Civil War Photography

Civil War Photography
​​​​​​​By:Evelyn Winkler  


This is a photo of Genneral William T. Sherman leaning on the breech of the cannon photograph by George N. Barnard.

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 

 Civil War photography's impact on society 

The Civil war was the first war to use photography, and it greatly impacted people's perception of war and their thoughts and feelings on it.

Firstly, it made it easy for people to see what was happening on the battlefield and who is winning. 

Secondly, photography enhanced what people thought of political figures like President Lincoln. He said that he would not have been re-elected without the portrait of him taken by photographer Matthew Brady who is a Civil War photographer. 

Thirdly, it let people see if their sons or father were dead, because photographers would sometimes take photos of the dead. The New York Times wrote on October 20, 1862, just a month after a very bloody battle, “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards and along the streets, he has done something very like it.” 

This was the first time ever that the struggles and the hardships of war were known outside of the soldiers. Before the camera the only thing we had was paintings . Since battles occurred at a very fast pace and painting took a long time, the paintings were not also what actually happened.   

Bodies on the battlefield at Antietam in September 1862.

 Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress 

Civil War photography

Evelyn Winkler 

Junior Division 

Individual Website

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