How Photography Impacted the Civil War?

The death toll during the Civil War fought through 1861 to 1865 exceeded the death toll that occurred collectively in all other wars that the US has fought until now. Historians believe information regarding civil war is more perceptible just because of the photos that the country possess. Known famously as the ‘Brothers War’ as family members fought on opposite sides, people have profound memories of the Civil War due to the evidences in the form of photos that bring alive the entire event in front of everyone.

During the Civil War photography was merely twenty years old. It needed almost thirty minutes for capturing one single image using the best of technology available during that period. Photography required glass plates of chemicals and assistants for putting these plates in front of the camera. The army used to have a complete team of courageous photographers who moved along with soldiers up to the battle fields to capture the rare images and shots. Since capturing images was a long drawn process, most of the shots that have been taken depict the aftermath of the battles. The captured images were mostly of massacres, the equipment used for battles, and the images of soldiers and senior officers from both sides.

The most prominent influence of these photographs was noticed among the general public. It completely changed the perception of common man about how and what happens in a war. These photos staged themselves as eyewitnesses that reflected the reality of any war – the torn and ripped bodies all along the battle field, worn out faces, filthy battlefield clinics, and the bloodbath. It created a horrific image amongst the common man. The war, thus, became a reality for people. The relatives and the friends of the soldiers and officers were exposed to the atrocities of this war through the plethora of photographs of the battlefield.

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Kum Martin is an online leading expert in history and education. He also offers top quality articles like:
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