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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Antietam: 1862

Antietam: 1862

Sepetember 1862. Antietam, Maryland. "Confederate soldier who after being wounded had evidently dragged himself to a little ravine on the hillside where he died." Wet plate glass negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

I always think of their mothers

I have seen pictures of young men dead from war as some mother's son for many years, but even more so, since the death of my own son. My son's death didn't help to preserve democracy, or anything like that, though. I guess you could say he died in the war on drugs, making him one more among the millions of young people who have died of accidental drug overdoses.

Sacrifice at Sharpsburg

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

Brady's negatives

Brady's negatives were sold to the E. & H. T. Anthony Company during the wartime period. The Anthony Company later sold those negatives to Frederick Hill Meserve around 1900, and Meserve's family sold many of them to the Smithsonian in 1981. Brady sold another set of negatives directly to the government in 1875.

Glass plates

I understand that Mathew Brady died a poor man even after selling most of his plates to people building greenhouses. It makes me sick to think how much history was lost, fading away in the sun for the sake of growing a few tomatoes.

I am speechless.

I am speechless.

Confederate Photographers

"Why is it,that whenever you see a Dead Soldier from the Civil War, just about 95% of the time it is always a Confederate soldier?"

Dave gives one explanation - that the photographers were traveling with the Union Army. But there is a secondary explanation. As I understand it photographers in the Confederacy had considerable difficulty in acquiring the chemicals they needed. Many of those chemicals would need to be imported on blockade runners (or smuggled in from the North) and obviously the South had more pressing needs (like medicine), and the blockade runners were more likely to want to bring in higher value and more compact goods. That, combined with the demand for portraits, kept most Confederate photographers in the studios.

Confederate soldier

Why is it,that whenever you see a Dead Soldier from the Civil War, just about 95% of the time it is always a Confederate soldier??

[Because the photographers are traveling with the Union Army, on ground taken by the North. Whose dead are more likely to have been cleared from the field. And I'd say it's more like 70-30. - Dave]

Little Ravine

Something about that term "little" ravine makes the description even sadder.

Some Mother's Son

Someone's dear boy, dead in a field, as boys always are when war sweeps them up.


There are no words to describe how this picture made me feel- I will say, I wonder if/when someone will be struck dumb by a picture of a dead soldier from our current's incredibly sad.

Civil War photos

Apparently there were so many photos taken during the Civil War that the demand for them lowered considerably, especially those of dead soldiers. The glass plates found other uses such as windowpanes for greenhouses. I always find it rather amazing that any were left for producing later.


Though men deserve, they may not win, success;
The brave will honor the brave, vanquished none the less.

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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