The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • A CHRISTMAS JOKE WITH A POINT TO IT

Petersburg: 1864

Petersburg: 1864

August 1864. "Petersburg, Virginia. Group of Company D, U.S. Engineer Battalion." Wet-plate glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

 

A Confederate view

One of my ancesters was killed in this battle. He was a private in the South Carolina 1st Batallion sharpshooters and as best as I can tell, they were standing right over the explosion.

Cratering

The Army Engineers had nothing to do with the construction of the great mine at the Battle of the Crater. That was dug by Colonel Henry Pleasants' 48th Pennsylvania Regiment which was drawn from the Pennsylvania coal mining country. Pleasants himself was a mining engineer and he and his men had considerable knowledge of extended tunneling, probably greater knowledge than the army engineers.

Builders not fighters.

Although war anywhere near the front must've been wearying, these men were engineers not warriors. I would imagine thet spent more time surveying and drawing, rather dodging bullets.

Gentlemen's Quarterly

Forgive me, but this grouping of soldiers looks like a picture from a men's clothing catalog rather than of war-weary survivors. They look as if they were modeling, posing with hands on the hips, looking away to the distance, hands on knees, etc. And then there's that ubiquitous fellow in a recumbent pose in the front. There always seems to be one or more of those fellows in photos of this nature.

These could be some of the guys

who tunneled under the Confederate front line and laid the mine whose explosion started the famous Battle of The Crater at Petersburg. They managed to blow up a considerable section of the Confederate line and Union infantry occupied the crater.

If there had been a sucessful exploitation of the gap, Union troops might have broken through to Richmond and possibly ended, if not shortened, the war. Poor planning by the Union High Command and lack of discipline by the troops holding the crater allowed the Confederates to recover, counterattack and re-take control of the gap. Thus, the War slogged on for another year.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.