Early Portraits from America's Civil War, 150 Years Later: LIFE Photos

More

On April 12th, a century and a half will have passed since the United States waged its first and only civil war, fifteen decades since Confederate guns fired on South Carolina's Fort Sumter. The conflict quickly grew all-encompassing—Union soldiers versus Confederates, North against South, and all caught up in issues of race, money, and territory, lasting from 1861 to 1865.

On the eve of the war's 150th anniversary, LIFE magazine shares the portraits of Mathew Brady, an Irish New Yorker who came to be called the father of American photojournalism. Brady's camera showed the range of our country's faces during the war—from the suffragette organizer of the American Red Cross to the first woman ever executed by the federal government. His images even include Walt Whitman, who volunteered as a nurse.

View more photos at LIFE.com.

Jump to comments
Presented by

John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

An Eerie Tour of Chernobyl's Wasteland

"Do not touch the water. There is nothing more irradiated than the water itself."


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

Just In