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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.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

He Sleeps Where He Fell: 1864

He Sleeps Where He Fell: 1864

May 1864. "Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia. Dead Confederate soldier near Mrs. Alsop's house." Wet-plate glass negative by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. Photos from Grant's Wilderness Campaign, May-June 1864. View full size.

 

Here's what war is all about

Quote from Confederate Cavalry General Nathan Bedford Forrest:

"War means fightin' and fightin' means killin'."

Nuff said.

War and Peace

War does not determine who is right -- only who is left.

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

-- Bertrand Russell

O'Sullivan or Brady?

By 1864, Matthew Mathew Brady's eyesight was so poor that he rarely took photos himself, and almost never on battlefields. He employed over twenty photographers to do that work, among whom the best known are Timothy O'Sullivan and Alexander Gardner.

Important

Tragic and drastic though it is, this particular picture seems to have had some prominence for quite some time. It did figure in the exhibition (and catalog) of the 1955 photographic exhibition "The Family of Man" created by the Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition catalog of 1955 credits the picture to Mathew Brady, though.

Like it or not

War is how conflicting ideas are sorted out. It is why I am not someone else's property.

Important photo

Though very sad and hard to look at for some people, pictures like this one are extremely important... expecially in today's sanitized society where people are shielded from what our brave soldiers do and risk.

They convey the price of war.

Gut-shot

Shelby Foote pointed out these photos often show the solders' clothes pulled every which way. They were desperately looking to see where they had been hit -- if they were "gut-shot," they knew their lives were over.

Peace

A view from a tragic time in America's history. Rest in peace dear soldier, your war is over.

Disturbing

I can't stand to look at pictures like this. The things we do to each other are terrible.

What price war?

I've typed in quite a few versions of my feelings and thoughts after viewing this photo. Perhaps it is better simply put, it breaks my poor heart.

Compassion

Living near the Vicksburg Memorial and knowing too much about the Civil War, I feel too much about that photo to say anything else, except that I'm so glad I found this site today, and may God bless all ya'll.

Brave soldier

William Frassanito's book "Grant and Lee" says there is evidence this soldier was a member of Ewell's Corps, Ramseur's Brigade of the 4th North Carolina Regiment. It has another photo of the soldier taken facing his right side across the rails on page 110. Years ago I read somewhere else that the soldier had been using rags to try and stop the blood flow from his wounds.

Someone knew him

Someone's son, father, husband, brother.

Tragic

Doesn't get anymore real than this. I hope he didn't suffer too much. RIP soldier.

 
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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.

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