The Civil War's Strangest Personalities: LIFE Photos

More

>"Old Bald Head"; the first defense of temporary insanity; a nervous breakdown; and even our country's worst president—while many of these descriptions sound like they might be out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, they're actually referring to some of the most bizarre individuals to come out of America's Civil War. A century-and-a-half has passed since the conflict began, when Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. Below is a gallery featuring some of the more unusual people involved in the war, their eccentricities at least as odd now as they were fifteen decades ago.

See more photos of the Civil War's African-American fighters, the portraits of photographer Mathew Brady, and 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)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

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

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

Just In