The American Civil War pitted brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, and friends against friends. Fought between 1861 and 1865, new technologies and inventions were implemented during the battles with ruthless efficiency, and the casualty toll was unlike anything the United States had ever experienced. Here, we take a look at some of the best photos released from that era.
Enemies Confront Each Other
In this photograph, a Union soldier has stumbled upon a wounded Confederate infantryman. The Confederate soldier seems worse for wear and has either become detached from his retreating unit or unfortunately, maybe has been abandoned at his post by his comrades in arms.
Records do not show what became of this Confederate soldier after the photograph was taken. It is likely that he was brought a field hospital and then a prisoner of war camp to wait out the conflict as a POW, this may have been a kinder fate than many of his comrades, who would have died fighting.
Due to the industrialization of war, the nature of the injuries changed. The advancement of technologies meant bigger weapons firing heavier ammunition over longer distances and causing a bigger explosion. Hospitals and medical professionals at the time were ill-equipped to deal with the horrific injuries caused by heavy shell explosions and machine gunfire.
Never before had battle caused both a man’s arms to be ripped from his body, or legs to be blown clean off. Sanitation was also an issue, and it was not widely known that reusing dirty bandages was extremely dangerous and caused infection.
Treatment for All - Grey or Blue
Pictured below is Sister M M Joseph who served as a nurse during the Civil War. Requested personally by the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, Sister Joseph and eight other sisters of Mercy were stationed at Hammon Hospital to treat wounded men. The hospital was seized by the Union earlier in the war, but the sisters did not discriminate as to who to treat. Men from either side lay in bed side by side, receiving the same treatment and attention from the women of the cloth.
Later in the war, Hammond was upgraded and turned from a field hospital into a treatment and recovery center for wounded soldiers.
Phillip Sheridan - A Man of War
Pictured below is Philip Sheridan. A career soldier and lifetime servant for the US Army, Sheridan was a good friend of Ulysses S Grant and enjoyed a successful career in the military. However, it was not until the American civil war’s last months that Sheridan really came into the public spotlight.
In 1864 he was victorious against the confederate forces of General Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley and it was here he would earn his fierce reputation. In a series of economic moves nicknamed ‘The Burning’ Sheridan crippled the economy of the valley and thus the enemy in a scorched earth tactic that was unseen before, but used countless times afterward.
Later in the war, during its final days, Sheridan cut off a unit of Robert E Lee’s men during the general’s retreat at Appomattox and was one of the first to cross the James River, forcing the Confederates to surrender.
Abolitionist, political activist and women's rights campaigner, Harriet Tubman’s exploits have been well documented. Born into slavery, Tubman managed to escape and began working for the Union army as a spy, lookout and scout during the war.
She is most famous for conducting thirteen successful mission to rescue enslaved people from plantations and service in the confederate army, saving over seventy people. The network she used during this period to smuggle people into the north was nicknamed the Underground Railroad.
A Great General Tempts Fate and Pays the Price
Here in this photo, we see four men who are clearly of great importance. The man sitting looking away from the camera was General John Sedgwick. A military man through and through, Sedgwick was a brilliant tactician and was of vital importance to the Union cause. Major General Sedgwick lost his life during a skirmish with a sharpshooter.
Famously brazen about safety, and at a time in the war when rifles were extremely inaccurate past one hundred yards, the general famously claimed that ‘they couldn't hit an elephant at that distance” right before his death. The bullet from the civil war era sniper hit Sedgwick in the face, just below his left eye, killing him instantly. Such was the importance of the man, General Ulysses Grant commented that losing him was “greater than the loss of a whole division of troops.”
His Photos Will Live on Forever
A fantastic picture, but an unfortunate accompanying story. The man sitting in the middle of this picture is Matthew Harrison Bradley. Bradley is widely considered to be one of the inventors of photojournalism. The American Civil War took place at a time when the development of film cameras was still relatively new, thus this was the first war in which clear and concise cameras existed.
A maverick in his field, Bradley envisioned changing the face of war-journalism with hard-hitting photos and never-before-seen images. Unfortunately for him, with the conclusion of war people opinion of graphic images of the conflict quickly changed. America was broken and did not need pictures of the war to remind them of the horrors of the Civil War. Bradley sold his pictures to congress for a fraction of their worth and died in severe debt.
Union Army Laundress in Washington D. C.
Life as a Laundress was a hard one. Often African-American or from poverty-stricken families, the Laundress had the rather smelly and arduous task of cleaning the men's uniforms in time for battle. Before the invention of washing machines, cleaning battle-weary uniforms for hundreds of men was no small job.
In the above picture, a Laundress with her children poses amongst soldiers in camp. The days in camp before battle would be a struggle, with the Laundress attempting to have the men’s clothes ready for war.
Burnside for Three Months, Sideburns Forever
General Ambrose Burnside is best known for two distinctive qualities; a very impressive set of facial hair, and a less-than-impressive set of battlefield leadership skills. Burnside’s extremely short tenure as Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Known for his incredible facial hair, the phrase ‘sideburns’ come directly from General Burnside.
Unfortunately, the previous Commander in charge of the Potomac, General McLellan, proved himself equally as incompetent, lacking the killer instinct to deal a hammer blow to the enemy when attacking a defended position. General McClellan was replaced with Burnside soon after some disastrous defeats. There is much documentation claiming Burnside was reluctant to accept the role, although he was a successful man in his own right, the military life just was not for him. The battle of Fredericksburg was a complete disaster for the Union and Burnside, and he was removed from his post after just three months on the job.
George Armstrong Custer is one of the most famous soldiers from the American Civil War. You may not know him by sight, by everybody seems to have heard of the name Custer. Infamous for his exploits after the Civil War, Custer was a cavalry commander who galloped into conflict with his men at the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand in 1876.
This picture depicts Custer, on the right, sitting next to an old friend, John ‘Gimlet’ W.Lea. The two soldiers knew each other from West Point Military Academy and although W.Lea was fighting for the enemy, Custer noticed him in a military hospital and insisted on the picture being taken.
Francis E. Brownell
Francis E Brownell was a union soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military honor, for his exploits during the war. Nicknamed ‘Ellsworth’s Avenger’ for killing James W Jackson after he shot Colonel Elmer E Ellsworth.
Brownell was known for his distinctive Zouave uniform with baggy pants and wore a black band over his left arm commemorating Ellsworth’s death.
The Importance of Cavalry Soldiers
Although the nature of war was changing and the technology was constantly improving, Cavalry units still played a vital role on the battlefield. In the early years of the war, the Confederate Cavalry brigades enjoyed more success than their Union counterparts. Southern men were generally much more accustomed to riding horseback, and this natural talent for riding proved invaluable on the battlefield. However, Confederate commanders tended to get a little excited and mount dramatic, spectacular and naive charges, often resulting in disastrous consequences for their men and achieving little strategic ground.
From the second half of the war onwards, Union cavalry units were strengthened and received better training, and this began to show. The Union's new and improved cavalry capabilities came at a heavy economic cost to the treasury, but such a price had to be paid in such a hotly contested war. The cavalry’s most feared weapon was the saber, a curved sword capable of slicing through the enemy whilst its rider was at full gallop. Each soldier on horseback was also equipped with a pistol.
Different Ship, Same Gun
The Unions Naval prowess was a determining factor in their overall victory. Naval dominance was hanging in the balance until Admiral John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren began changing the face of American naval ordnance forever.
The highly intelligent Admiral invented the Smoothbore Howitzer, a gun that was capable of being adapted to fit many different types, shapes and sizes of craft. This gave the Union Navy a huge advantage in terms of firepower in the Naval battles against smaller Confederate ships with weaker guns. Thanks to Dahlgren, nicknamed, ‘The Father of American Naval Ordnance, many advanced were made in gunnery, and he even created his own Navy’s Ordnance Department.
The American Civil War was not only fought by men. Many underage boys were conscripted each army to serve a variety of roles such as drummer boys, flag bearers, boot cleaners and pot washers. As the war dragged on and each side became more desperate for fresh recruits, the young boys already were quickly made into child-soldiers.
It is estimated that between 250,000 to 420,000 boys aged 17 and under fought in the Civil War, which is a substantial portion of the overall fighting numbers. These men must have had to grow up very quickly and learn the toils of war and how to fight, before even learning the shave.
General Lee Never Returned Home
Pictured below are union soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The gorgeous grounds at Arlington have become the best-known military cemetery in the United States and there is a good reason for this.
Robert E. Lee's mansion overlooked Arlington and to ensure he never returned to his home, the Union built a grand cemetery in the gardens for fallen Union soldiers. It has since been opened up to all US soldiers, but the tactic worked and Lee never went back to Arlington.
The Changing Face of War
In one of the more popular photos from the civil war era, this enormous gun certainly captured the attention of the public. Such weapons of death had never been seen before and their gruesome efficiency was well known. Nicknamed ‘The Dictator’, the gun weighed 17,000-pounds and required an entire railroad for transportation.
With a previously unheard of range of up to 2.5 miles, this weapon truly changed the face of war and the importance of artillery. The ammunition needed to fill this beast was a 13-inch shell weighing approximately 218 pounds.
Drummer Boy Turned Soldier, Johnny Clem
The picture below was taken circa 1863-1865 and depicts a very young drummer boy named Johnny Clem. Clem gained notoriety during the war for becoming the youngest union army soldier to kill an enemy soldier. In the midst of battle, Clem, barely into his teenage years, discarded his drum, picked up a rifle and shot a Confederate officer.
Clem was captured by the confederates but managed to survive the war and he returned to active duty for the rest of his career. Still serving, and at this point a General in 1915, he was one of the last soldiers from the Civil War still in the American Army.
Meade Was Soft, And Grant Was Unstoppable
In the aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg, Union forces had taken over 12,000 Confederate Prisoners of War. with such heavy losses through death and capture, the confederate army made a desperate scramble back into Virginia to try and regroup and live on to fight another day. The retreating troops made a wagon train that was over seventeen miles in length. Such a long thin line of battle-weary troops were vulnerable to attack on all sides, and General Meade was criticized heavily for allowing the confederates to escape.
Lincoln was frustrated that the final blow had not been delivered, and began to look for a new General to lead his forces. Ulysses Grant was appointed as head of the army on March 10, 1864. Grant had the killer instinct that Meade lacked, and he succeeded in Destroying the Confederate army and winning the American Civil War for the Union.
Militia Uniforms of the Civil War
A common conception surrounding the war is that there were two distinct uniforms, Union in blue and Confederates in grey, but this was not always the case. At the outbreak of war, both sides began recruiting militias into their ranks, and these soldiers came dressed in all sorts of attire.
Pictured above is a classic, homemade DIY uniform of a Confederate militia, one who had not yet been issued the distinctive grey tunic. Ironically, over time and subject to varying weather conditions, the grey tunics of the confederate army changed into a light brown colour and were then referred to as ‘Butternuts’.
Three Days Into the Job, Welcome to Gettysburg
General Meade was appointed as Commander of the Army of the Potomac by Abraham Lincoln. The three previous appointments had not gone so well, and the Union troops needed a serious morale boost after recent clashes with the Confederate forces. Just three days after Meade was appointed, he would thrust into the spotlight and history books. He decided to settle his forces near a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg after hearing about the Confederate advance into the Northern territories.
In command during the most decisive and influential battles of the war, Meade had a fierce opponent in General Lee of the Confederate army. Luckily for Meade, he was able to repel the attacking Confederates after three days of fierce fighting.
Born into a very poor family in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln had to educate himself. A successful lawyer in his early adult life, Abraham soon turned his capabilities to politics. Elected president of the United States in 1861, Lincoln led the Union during the conflict and his accomplishments include the civil war victory, the abolishment of slavery and the strengthening of the national economy at a turbulent time in the history of the United States.
Lincoln was assassinated whilst at the theatre by well-known actor John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. The assassination has been widely documented and Lincoln was never able to lead his country during peacetime.
The Slave Who Dressed as a Confederate Captain
An amazing tale of courage, bravery and defiance. Robert Smalls was born into slavery in South Carolina and had a very hard existence, up until seizing the opportunity and changing his life, and the course of the Civil War. Smalls managed, remarkably dress as a Confederate Captain and commandeer a transport ship and freed himself, along with several other slaves and their families. He then sailed towards the Union lines and raised the white flag of surrender to signal his peaceful intent to the Union soldiers.
This unbelievable story is part of the reason Abraham Lincoln was convinced to allow African American soldiers into the Union Army. After the war, Smalls served in the House of Representatives representing his home state of South Carolina, the place he was raised a slave.
Abraham Lincoln’s Avenger
The man tasked with avenging Abraham Lincoln. Edward P. Doherty was New York-based when the war broke out and enlisted in the local militia soon after. During the war he was captured by the Confederates but managed to escape from the military prison and sneak back to the Union line.
On April 14, 1865, the world was shocked to hear of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Doherty was tasked with assembling a team to track, capture and kill the man responsible for the assassination, John Wilkes Booth. Doherty and his men managed to complete their mission in just two days.
The Importance of Drummer Boys
Before the invention of radio or the telephone, communication on the battlefield took the form of flags and drums. The use of drummer boys in western armies had been popular for hundreds of years and they served two purposes. When marching over long distances, the drummer boys would hold up the rhythm of the march and keep the soldiers in step. On the battlefield, the drummers' role was vital for communication. Different signals and orders would have varying rhythms and beats, which could be heard over the noise of battle.
On the battlefield, the drummer's role was vital for communication. Different signals and orders would have varying rhythms and beats, which could be heard over the noise of battle across large distances. Pictured above are three drummer boys of the Confederate army.
The Huge Gun That Changed the War for Black Soldiers
During the Civil War, industrialisation was a key element in developing technologies that would give either side an edge. An important component of this was the improvement of heavy artillery. This massive 200-pound gun greatly was the biggest of its kind and had a far longer range than artillery weapons that had come before it. A total of 13 of these beasts were stationed at Fort Wagner in Charleston Harbor in order to stave off the bombardment from the Union Navy.
Fort Wagner was the site of two battles during July 1863. The first attack from the Union was a disaster, but the second, a week later, paved the way for black soldiers to play more of an important role in the Union army. The battle changed public opinion towards African American soldiers and because of it, the union ranks swelled with fresh recruits.
Marching Bands in the Civil War
Marching Bands had two purposes. As their name suggests, the most obvious use was to keep the soldiers in step when marching across large distances. Before each great battle, the marching bands from either side would play against each other, much to the amusement of the men.
The second role of the marching band was more psychological. Each Company would have its own marching band and played an important role in boosting troops moral and distracting them through song and music.
The Fort Sumter Conundrum
Of all the forts that were used during the civil war, few are as famous as Fort Sumter. Located in Charleston Harbor, its fame came from being the location where the first shots of the war were fired on April 12, 1861.
The shooting and subsequent battle did not stop for a total of 34 hours. Exhausted and out of supplies, the weary Union troops surrendered the fort the next day, giving the Confederates their first victory and signaling the end of the American Civil War’s first battle, but by no means the last. Above, the photo captures the aftermath of the brutal encounter.
CSS Albermarle - The Confederates Secret Weapon
The Union Naval Blockade of Confederate territories was extremely effective throughout the end of 1863 and 1864. Supplies that were once bountiful were now coming through in a trickle. Both the military and civilian populations were at breaking point in retaliation to the Union blockade, the Confederates built the CSS Albermarle. An ironclad gunship that was unstoppable in the theatre of naval war. No union ship could contend with her and through her efforts, much of the blockade was weakened and supplies were able to flow through to the desperate North Carolina coastline.
In one attack on a Union stretch of fortifications, the Albermarle was able to bypass the blockades in the water, as she was smaller and more maneuverable than her Union counterparts. The Albermarle then attacked two Union ships, the Southfield and Miami. The wooden hull of the Southfield was no match for the iron strength of Albermarle and she was sunk when the confederate ironclad rammed her. The Miami tried to shell the gunship but thanks to the thick iron cladding, the bullets simply bounced off and repelled back onto the Miami, killing the captain instantly.
A Good Inventor, a Bad Salesman
Below is one of the first observation balloons filled with Hydrogen gas to enter the American Civil War. Thaddeus Lowe, the inventor of the balloon, named it the Intrepid. Although the balloons were previously used for civilian purposes, Lowe had the brainwave to market them for military usage as mobile observation posts, supporting the Union cause. Lowe came up with a risky plan to fly to Washington DC, and land on the White House lawn. A seasoned salesman would have tried his prototype before attempting the journey to Washington, Lowe did not.
His plan did not go as expected, he caught a “rebel” wind and the Intrepid drifted into the centre of the Confederate camp. Lowe was captured, placed in jail but soon after managed to escape from certain death at the hands of the Confederates. Afterwards, he reached Washington where he attempted to demonstrate the observational advantages of Intrepid to the high command of the Union Army.
War is a chess match of many different moving parts. Any advantage you can gain on your enemy is important, both for strategy and morale of your own troops. Here we see a photo of a ‘Shermans Necktie’ in the making. The nickname was given to this process after its effectiveness.
Confederate soldiers would stifle the Union efforts the built railroad and train lines by placing the steel beams in these positions, setting light to the wood and bending the hot steel, thus making it impossible to use as train tracks. The method was very effective and gave the Union logistical planners a headache in trying to move men, food, and supplies to the front lines.
So Very Close, Yet Still So Far
If this army looks bored to you, it’s because they probably are. Nine months is a long time to be staring at the same city without taking it. Richmond was the pinnacle of the Confederate cause. The Virginia-based city was chosen as its Capital and stronghold.
Petersburg, a small town not 30 miles away may not seem very important, but when the Union army attacked its defences on the outskirts of the capital, they were met with fierce resistance and miles upon miles of dug in defences. The reason the confederates help Petersburg so dearly to them was due to the fact that five railroads ended at Petersburg. Five railroads that were the lifeline of the confederate capital and war machine. So began the siege of Petersburg. In the longest siege of the war, the small town of Petersburg held out for a total of nine months. Thousands of Union attackers and Confederate defenders died before the lines fell and the Union troops broke through.
Abraham Lincoln Dances With Death
Already a very tall man for the era, and possibly the tallest President ever to have served, Abraham Lincoln insisted on wearing a top hat to be even more recognizable. Little did the President know, that his height and choice of headwear nearly causes his death in 1864.
Whilst on a rudimentary tour of the front lines and basecamp of the union army, a confederate infantry brigade attacked, breaking through the lines and causing chaos with barrages of rifle fire. Had Lincoln not listened to one of his Generals, he could have taken a bullet from the incoming Confederate soldiers.
The Ironclads Changed Naval Warfare History
In the picture below, the crew members of the USS Monitor stand proudly aboard their deck. Naval skirmishes and battles were nothing new, but the invention of the Ironclads changed the face of Naval warfare altogether. The USS Monitor is best known for its revolutionary design and size.
Two 11-inch guns, pictured above, were the ships main offensive weapons and its defences, consisting of the thick iron hull, were impressive in repelling shells and bullets. In building this Ironclad, 40 new patents were required in order to finish the project. Much larger than anything else ever seen before, the warship also rose 18 inches above the water level. Monito’s standout feature was a state of the art revolving turret, something that had not been done before.
The Battle of Sewel’s Point
Norfolk Naval Yard was an extremely important harbor and port for the Confederate war effort. The jewel in the American Navy at the time was a ship called the USS Merrimack, but since it was stationed at Norfolk, it fell right into Confederate hands at the beginning of the war. The Union Sailors decided to sink the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of the enemy, but the confederates managed to salvage the vessel and renamed her CSS Virginia, much to the annoyance of the Union
Norfolk also hosts the Union Naval Blockade of the Confederate coastline which stifled supplies getting through to their troops. There were some skirmishes between Union ships and the fortifications artillery divisions during the Battle of Sewell’s Point in May 1861.
DIY Jetty Blindsides Confederate Defenders
Near the conclusion of the war, the Confederates were packing up and sending all things of value out of Richmond. The capital was inevitably going to fall within the next few days, and it was up to the Confederate defenders to stifle and hold the Union advances.
Bridges along the James River were burned in order to slow the Union's progress, but General Ulysses S Grant managed to pull off the remarkable feat of constructing a DIY jetty or pontoon across the river. At 2,000 feet wide and over 80 feet deep, the speed of which engineers were able to construct the crossing is staggering. The Confederate soldiers were completely outflanked and blindsided by the construction and the city fell soon after.
Friends Across The Pond
In this picture, the Ambassadors of Sweden, Italy, Nicaragua, France, Great Britain, and Russia, can be seen in New York in 1863. Although called the American Civil War, there were many international and diplomatic relationships to be kept up during such troublesome times.
The Confederacy also had friends abroad and when the war seemed to be swinging against them, the high command of the Confederacy looked abroad for some international allies, and possibly even military intervention, therefore, it was vital that Abraham Lincoln maintained cordial relationships with the International community, even at a time of civil war.
Gettysburg - Lee Pushes North, and Fails
The best known and most influential battle of the American Civil War. The name Gettysburg will live long in the memory. After deciding to bring the fight to the Union for once, General Lee located the union forces nearby Gettysburg. A small, unassuming town in Southern Pennsylvania, Gettysburg would be the meeting place for the epic encounter.
General Lee had just secured a fantastic victory for the confederates and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Union army. Full of confidence and with high morale amongst the men, Lee decided to go on the offensive and push north. Several days of fighting ensued, with massive casualties on both sides. The lines of the Union were pierced in sections along the front line, but a serious foothold could not be taken and the end result after three days of fierce fighting equated to 23,000 Union deaths and 28,000 Confederates. Decimated and drained, Lee had lost one-third of his army, his gamble north had not paid off and he led his men back into Virginia.
A strange myth about the battle at Gettysburg was that it started because the Confederates had been looking for shoes. However, the truth is that they were looking for some trouble. There were ten roads that were going in and out of the town, so it was very likely that the two would stumble upon each other.
Little Round Top, Big Battle Consequences
Pictured below is the aftermath of the battle for Little Round Top, during the three day battle of Gettysburg. On day two, confederate forces stormed the hill in an attempt to take the hill and gain some high ground. After some fierce fighting that lasted for many hours, the Union soldiers were able to repel the attack and hold their positions. The defeat was catastrophic for the Confederate infantry and this heavy defeat pushed Lee into the impulsive decision to send his troops into the main lines of the Union, known as ‘Pickett’s Charge’.
This photo was taken two days after the battle had concluded. Although not the best quality the destruction is clear to see and gives you a sense of the ferocity of the fighting that took place here.
The Biggest Artillery Barrage in North American History
The men in the picture below are firing their cannons onto the field. The Confederate army started off with 12,000 men and the bombardment is considered the largest in the history of the continent. However, as large as it may have been, it wasn’t as effective as you may have thought. This was good news for the Union. Lee was unaware that a shell had hit one of the ammunition stores causing an enormous explosion. This made it seems as though all hell breaking loose on the Union positions. As a result, Pickett would lose about half of his men. This would later be known as the “high-water mark of the Confederacy.”
The soldiers in the picture are Confederate artillerymen, preparing to launch the largest bombardment seem in the war. With the high ground, including Little Round Top and Big Round Top, the Union men seemed to have the upper hand. Knowing this, Lee decided on a massive artillery bombardment on the Union positions to try and soften them up before the infantry attack. During the bombardment, an ammunition cache was hit by a shell and caused a huge explosion. From the confederate lines, it looked as though the Unions had been consumed by fire, but this was not the case. The bombardment was less effective than the Confederates thought and the Union were able to hold their positions.
Liquor, Looting, and Flames
War has lasting consequences, and the fire of Richmond, Virginia nearly wiped out the entire central zone of the city. During the fall of the city, chaos took hold. The retreating Confederate government ordered all liquor in the city to be destroyed as to minimize the chaos, but instead of disposing of it, soldiers poured the booze down the streets. Free-flowing alcohol was enthusiastically foraged by local residents, and the madness began.
As the artillery bombardment of Richmond ended, the centre was ablaze and its citizens began looting and stealing whatever they could get their hands on. The first job for the Union Army once arriving in Richmond was to limit the damage done to the city and put the fires out.
The fall of Richmond is well documented, and the destruction of the city was a heavy blow for the locals who viewed it as their capital. Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government took the last train out of the city just in time to escape the advancing Union soldiers and remained on the run well after the surrender of their army and the collapse of the Confederate State. It is estimated that over twenty blocks of the city were completely destroyed in the fire due to artillery bombardments.
It is estimated that over twenty blocks of the city were completely destroyed in the fire due to artillery bombardment. In the aftermath of the battle for Richmond, the rebuilding process began. Union soldiers, Confederate prisoners and local residents began the painful process of putting their city and lives, back together.
The Union Infantry Uniform
The classic Union Soldier Infantry uniform was a dark blue cap and tunic with grey pants, or trousers and leather boots. Different units and brigades had slightly different Uniform and the cavalry was usually made up of aristocratic men who could afford a horse and better quality uniform. Of course, not everyone was issued a uniform, and many militia units wore completely different colors throughout the war, confusing their comrades and enemies alike.
Each man was issued a rifle and bayonet that could be attached to the end of the gun or used as a separate weapon.
Surrounding the Southerners
Union General Winfield Scott proposed a military plan designed to strangle resources and supplies to the Confederates. The idea involved establishing a large naval blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, both areas were controlled by the confederate navy at the time and were vital in supporting the Confederate cause.
Using steamboats and the Mississippi River to transport troops, the second stage of the plan was to contain Confederate land forces to the south and surrounded them by land and air.
Executing the Conspirators
On July 7, 1865, four people were tried and sentenced for conspiracy and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth, the man who pulled the trigger, had been caught and killed several months before. The four condemned conspirators, David Herold, Lewis Powell, Mary Surratt, and George Atzerodt, were then hanged for their crimes.
The photo shows a large group of Union Soldiers watching the execution. There was some controversy surrounding the sentencing, as Mary Surratt was the first-ever woman to be put to death in the United States.
The Winans Steam Gun
Possibly the most bizarre weapon invented during the American Civil War, the Winans Steam Gun was invented by Charles Dickinson and William Joslin. Not overly effective on the battlefield, the gun was used post-war for military purposes, or any purpose at all in fact.
Created for the Confederate cause, the gun used centrifugal forces instead of gunpowder to propel objects and projectiles at the enemy. A massive contraption, the device resembles more of a steam train than a gun.