150th Anniversary of the American Civil War


Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War.

Yorktown, Virginia (vicinity). Confederate fortifications.

Richmond, Virginia. Stacked and scattered ammunition near the State Arsenal.

Same as last description

Charleston, S.C. Parapet of Fort Sumter, with stacks of ammunition

Charleston, S.C. Blakely guns and ammunition in the Arsenal yard

Photograph of the War in the West. These photographs are of Sherman at the sea, December 1864. After marching through Georgia for a month, Sherman stormed Fort McAllister on December 13, 1864 and captured Savannah itself 8 days later. These seven views are limited to the former stronghold and its dismantling preparatory to Sherman’s further movement northward. This operation was ordered on December 24, and Gen. William B. Hazen [2d Division, 15th Corps] and Maj. Thomas W. Osborn, Chief of Artillery, had it completed by December 29, storing the guns at Fort Pulaski.

Petersburg, Va. Dead Confederate soldier with gun

Petersburg, Virginia. Dead Confederate soldier in trenches before Petersburg

The task of clearing the dead from Cold Harbor one year after the battle was given to freed Africans.

cavalry private with a Pinfire, of course!


Many thanks for the posting. These are some of the better Ordnance related ones,I saw most of the originals about 40 yrs. ago when I was doing some research in D.C. Again thanks
Charles.J.Wells (Jack)
Sgm.USA. Ret.


Amazing how many good quality photographs there are of this event. The glass plate negatives which were used have lasted with sharpness for all of this time. Thousands still exist and can produce clear images TODAY !

War , even when it is nonsense , is man’s favorite sport and we must have plenty of photos to re-live it.

If you follow the offerings on various sites, like Ebay, where war photos are offered for sale you would think that every German soldier in WW2 was issued a camera.

Far fewer Japanese photos are offered.

The best photos of Japanese ordnance were made by the US , England and Australia.


Many prefer the term “The war between the states”. This is more popular in the South. “The Confederate States of America” was not part of “The United States of America” during the war and thus it was not a literal civil war. My favorite term for it is " Lincoln’s war ". That covers all the bases.


The use of photography renders the ACW as a first and still preserves it today and for all time for posterity. Itinerate photographers followed the armies as camp followers taking pictures of the soldiers for them to buy and send home. Others recorded the war as journalists for the newspapers and anyone else who would buy the pictures.
For most of my working life I was a “technical man” and staff photographer for Kodak. Old photos fascinate me, you can look straight into the faces of the men and they look back out at you across time. Sometimes it can be quite unsettling.
Part of the reason the photos are so good is because the negatives from the old plate cameras were so big and the old monochomatic emulsions were slow but recorded detail marvellously with a fine grain.

In the 20s and 30s millions of old negatives and plates were trashed, not necessarily negatives of war but daily life simply because they took up so much space to store them.

The blemishes on some of the photos, notably in the sky in the first picture, is caused by mould growing on the plates. The photographic emulsion is “glued” to the plate by a layer of gelatine or in some older cases by albumen and is now breaking down. Plates that have been stored in less than ideal conditions are often covered in mould and unless the content of the picture is worth the cost of restoration effectively lost.

  • On the evening of April 12th I was watching the ABC “World News” (between 06:30 - 07:00 PM, Eastern Time) and I was amazed because NOTHING was mentioned of the starting of the Civil War exactly 150 years ago. I think this is a real SHAME to ignore an American war that had caused over 600,000 deaths and so much damage. I have to admit that I’m very disgusted to wach the TV news of today which are manipulated to twist weak minds. Liviu 04/24/11


You get the same over here, don’t worry you are not alone. A couple of years ago on the anniversary of the first day of the Somme all we got was the briefest of mentions. The news commentator said “thousands of men died in the mud” The Somme was fought in July, in a heatwave. The commonest cause of death among the wounded was thirst. They couldn’t even get that right

  • @ VinceGreen: Sometimes I think “somebody up there” would like us to forget the past. I remember what George Santayana (1863-1952) said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Liviu 04/25/11