Women of the Civil War: LIFE Photos

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America's Civil War changed the lives of not only the men on the front lines of battle but also the women they left at home. A century-and-a-half since the Civil War began, the faces of these women are preserved in photographs by the father of American photojournalism, Mathew Brady. His portraits show the many faces of Civil War-era women, from a smirking young girl to the elderly to the tender expression of a nun.

See more photos of the Civil War's brutal battlefields, 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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