Scenes From the Civil War's Battlefields: LIFE Photos

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America's only Civil War was a bloody affair resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers from both the Northern Union and the Southern Confederacy -- with more Americans killed than in any other war in history. The conflict broke out 150 years ago this week and lasted until 1865.

The photographs below reveal just how brutal the fighting life could be.

See more photos of the Civil War's strangest personalities, its African-American fighters, the portraits of photographer Mathew Brady, and at LIFE.com.

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

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