Photography IN THE CIVIL WAR

Photography and the Civil War

Photography during the brutal war was essential for our knowledge. The Civil War was a fight, between the North and the South, if slavery should or should not be allowed. It had a big impact on people in both the North and South, seeing how the war looked like from photographs.

Photo taken by Mathew Brady

Dozens of photographers died in the civil war trying to take pictures. These people risking their lives to fight for our country, but also take photographs so we see the real civil war and not just what people pass on. Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, George N. Barnard, and James F. Gibson are just a few men who took photographs.

A lot of these intense photographs affected the North. Most of the Civil War was fought in Tennessee and Virginia, which were both Confederate states. The Union states, or the states that did not support slavery, barely got fought in. The northerners did not see war as much as the South did, so they greatly disturbed the North when they saw the photographs of dead soldiers.

Orange and Alexandria Railroad Bridge, near Union Mills, Virginia

Photographers had to travel in a dark wagon because of the collodion-on-glass technique. This process involved taking the picture, collodion was poured onto the picture, then soaked in water with nitrate and silver. It needed a dark room with no light or the pictures would get ruined. This was a hard and very lengthy process to get a few pictures.

Behind the scenes of the collodion wet plate process

A single camera costed $10-$50 which $10 back then was equal to around $250 today. So a camera was very expensive back then and still is now. Photographers had to carry around big camera that weren't easily fit into bags.

one of the first cameras invented

Cameras made a huge impact on the Civil War and history. Without them, we wouldn't know as much as we do right now.

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