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)

This Short Film Skewers Hollywood, Probably Predicts Disney's Next Hit

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


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

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

How Will Climate Change Affect Cities?

Urban planners and environmentalists predict the future of city life.

Video

The Inner Life of a Drag Queen

A short documentary about cross-dressing, masculinity, identity, and performance

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