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Wartime Security - Civil War Camera Shots

The American Civil War was one of the most violent conflicts in the history of the country; it split the country in territory and ideology. The first faction comprised of several southern states called the Confederacy and the second faction comprised of the northern states called the Union. The U.S. government supported the Union, while the Confederates were viewed as rebels and declared secession from the United States.

The northern economy was more industrialized, while the southern states were primarily an agricultural economy that relied heavily on the slaves as a source of labor. The decision of the U.S. government to abolishing slavery, supported by the North, sparked uproar in the South and was the driving factor in the evolution of the American civil war. The conflict between state and federal jurisdiction also became a focus of the far. Many southern states did not agree with the federal government’s decision to abolish slavery; instead they upheld that each state should have the right to abolish or sanction slavery. The abolition of slavery caused much of the southern economy to collapse and devastated southern communities.

The Civil War officially began on April 12, 1861. After the election of the new president, Abraham Lincoln in 1860, seven U.S. states: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Texas seceded from the United States. The gory battle of Fort Sumter marked the beginning of the Civil War. The war took a major toll on the American people. It is estimated that more than 600,000 people died in the war and hundreds of thousands were injured. The Union armies lost several men while the landscape of the Southern states was devastated by the Civil War. In total, there were more than five hundred battles during the war, forty of them being major ones. Some of the notable battles during the Civil War included the battles of Gettysburg, Antietam, Monitor and the Merrimack, Fort Sumter, First Bull Run, Petersburg, Vicksburg and Chancellorsville.

The battles between the Union and the Confederates continued until 1865. General Joseph Johnson’s surrender in the East and the battle in Texas’ Palmito Ranch were some of the last battles of the Civil War. Finally, the surrender of Robert E. Lee in Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865 ended the Civil War. The soldiers and proponents of the Confederate states were exhausted and demoralized since they could not make much headway. The destruction of the Confederate government located in Richmond was another blow on the hopes of the Confederates. The Emancipation Proclamation helped free the 3.5 million slaves of the Confederacy. Additionally, the Thirteenth Amendment liberated the border state slaves on December 6, 1865. After the Civil War ended, the Union gained full control over all the states and subsequent post war era of economic, political, and social restoration was known as Reconstruction. The American civil war ended after four years on April 9, 1865, when the Confederacy surrendered to Union troops.

Photography played a significant role during the Civil War since it provided an accurate historical record of the war. The personalities, casualties, places, and horrors of war were captured by the lenses of some of the most valiant photographers and firms of that time such as Mathew B. Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy H. O'Sullivan, and the E & H.T. Anthony Co. The photographs served as a valuable tool for historical research on the Civil War.

For additional resources on the Civil War and Civil War Photography, please refer to the following sites:

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