SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Lux Aeterna: 1865

Lux Aeterna: 1865

April 3, 1865. Petersburg, Virginia. "Dead Confederate soldier in trenches of Fort Mahone." Wet plate glass negative, right half of stereo pair, by Thomas C. Roche. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.

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Today's Top 5

What Might Have Been

This young man may have become someone very important to society. Perhaps the children that were never born because he died young would have been important.

When I see photos like this, especially ones very historical, it makes me think of all the possible pasts that could have affected our future.

How many people are killed in wars, people who may have affected our world positively, and may have held the answer to our futures right now? I bet a lot.


What a poignant and haunting series of photos. Thank you for posting them.

This photo, to me, is the saddest of them all. The other bodies appear to have been "laid out," so to speak - on their backs, arms folded, etc. They look more like what we're used to seeing of death. This fellow, however, appears to have not yet been touched. Instead, he looks as though he put himself into the fetal position and (hopefully) slipped into a peaceful sleep without too much pain.

Rest in peace, indeed.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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