The Civil War, Part 1: The Places

Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, a milestone commemorated by The Atlantic in a special issue (now available online). Although photography was still in its infancy, war correspondents produced thousands of images, bringing the harsh realities of the frontlines to those on the home front in a new and visceral way. As brother fought brother and the nation's future grew uncertain, the public appetite for information was fed by these images from the trenches, rivers, farms, and cities that became fields of battle. Today's collection is part 1 of 3, covering the places of the Civil War: the battleships, prisons, hospitals, urban centers, and rural pastures where history was made. Tomorrow's installment features some of the people involved in the conflict, and on Friday I'll be sharing some of the amazing three-dimensional stereographs of the war. Keep in mind, as you view these photographs, that they were taken 150 years ago -- providing a glimpse of a United States that was only 85 years old at the time.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

    The Battle for Mosul Enters Its Final Stage

    The Iraqi military says it has reached the final few days of the battle, having encircled an estimated 350 remaining Islamic State militants in Mosul’s Old City.

  • Ted Somerville

    2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest, Part II

    The contest is still under way.

  • Gabriela Bhaskar / Reuters

    Ramadan 2017 in the USA

    Images of Muslim Americans observing Eid al-Fitr and Ramadan this year in New York, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey

  • Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 6/17–6/23

    A heatwave in Europe, floating solar farms in China, the America’s Cup in Bermuda, the Royal Highland Show in Scotland, and much more

Join the Discussion