National Archives and Records Administration · Washington, DC 20408
The War Between the States was the first large and prolonged conflict recorded by photography. During the war, dozens of photographers, both as private individuals and as employees of the Confederate and Union Governments, photographed civilians and civilian activities; military personnel, equipment, and activities; and the locations and aftermaths of battles. Because wet-plate collodion negatives required from 5 to 20 seconds exposure, there are no action photographs of the war.
The name Mathew B. Brady is almost a synonym for Civil War photography. titlehough Brady himself actually may have taken only a few photographs of the war, he employed many of the other well-known photographers before and during the war. Alexander Gardner and James F. Gibson at different times managed Brady's Washington studio. Timothy O'Sullivan, James Gardner, and Egbert Guy Fox were also employed by Brady during the conflict.
The pictures listed in this publication are in the Still Picture Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Most are part of the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Record Group 111, and Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, Record Group 165. The records include photographs from the Matthew B. Brady collection, purchased for $27,840 by the War Department in 1874 and 1875, photographs from the Quartermaster's Department of the Corps of Engineers, and photographs private citizens donated to the War Department. These collections were once part of the War Department Library and have been cataloged and published as "List of the Photographs and Photographic Negatives Relating to the War for the Union" (War Department Subject Catalogue No. 5, 1897; 219 p.), filmed as National Archives Microfilm Publication T251.
Photographs included in this leaflet have been listed under one of four main headings: activities, places, portraits, and Lincoln's assassination. Items in the first two parts are arranged under subheadings by date, with undated items at the end of each subheading. Photographs of artworks have also been included in the list. Any item not identified as an artwork is a photograph. Names of photographers or artists and dates of items have been given when available, and an index to photographers follows the list.
At the end of this leaflet, there are instructions for ordering photographs. Many photographs of the Civil War held by the National Archives are not listed in this leaflet. Separate inquiries about other Civil War photography should be as specific as possible listing names, places, events, and other details.
Sandra Nickles and Joe D. Thomas did the research, selection, and arrangement for this list and wrote these introductory remarks.
1. Log hut company kitchen, 1864.
2. Soldiers at rest after drill, Petersburg, Va., 1864.
The soldiers are seated reading letters and papers and playing cards. 111-B-220.
3. A regimental fife-and-drum corps.
4. Winter quarters
Soldiers in front of their wooden hut, "Pine Cottage." 111-B-256.
5. Engineers of the 8th New York State Militia in front of a tent, 1861.
6. The 26th U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry on parade, Camp William Penn, Pa., 1865.
7. The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Sherman's veterans
8. Ringgold, Ga., battery at drill
9. Army blacksmith and forge, Antietam, Md., September 1862.
10. Dismounted parade of the 7th New York Cavalry in camp, 1862.
Some mounted troops are in the background. 111-B-502.
11. Federal cavalry column along the Rappahannock River, Va. 1862.
Some mounted troops are in the background. 111-B-508.
15. Allan Pinkerton, chief of McClellan's secret service, with his men near Cumberland Landing, Va., May 14, 1862.
(Pinkerton is smoking a pipe.) Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson. 90-CM-385.
16. Federal observation balloon Intrepid being inflated. Battle of Fair Oaks, Va., May 1862.
17. Scouts and guides for the Army of the Potomac, Berlin, Md., October 1862.
Photographed by Alexander Gardner. 165-SB-28.
18. Constructing telegraph lines, April 1864
Photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. 165-SB-62
19. Signal Tower at Cobb's Hill, near New Market, Va., 1864
20. A New York Herald Tribune wagon and reporters in the field.
87. Fort Sumter, S.C., April 14, 1861
Under the Confederate flag. 121-BA-914A.
88. Ruins of Stone Bridge, Bull Run, Va., March 1862.
Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson. 165-SB-7.
89. Confederate fortifications, Manassas, Va., March 1862.
Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson. 165-SB-11.
90. 'General Headquarters near Yorktown, Va., April 1862.'
Watercolor by William Mcllvaine. 200-WM-8.
91. Main street and church guarded by Union soldiers, Centreville, Va., May 1862.
Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson. 165-SB-4.
92. 'Battle of Gaines Mill, Valley of the Chickahominy, Virginia, June 27, 1862.'
Artwork by Prince de Joinville. 111-BA-1507.
93. Antietam Bridge, Md., September 1862
Soldiers and wagons are crossing the bridge. Photographed by Alexander Gardner. 165-SB-19.
94. Street scene, Warrenton, Va., ca. 1862.
95. Fredericksburg, Va., February 1863.
View from across the Rappahannock River. Photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. 165-SB-30.
96. Confederate dead behind the stone wall of Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Va.
Killed during the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863. Photographed by Capt. Andrew J. Russell. 111-B-514.
97. Fairfax Court House, Virginia
Union soldiers in front and on the roof, June 1863. Photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. 111-B-4755.
98. Dead Confederate sharpshooter in the Devil's Den, Gettysburg, Pa., July 1863.
Photographed by Alexander Gardner. 165-SB-41.
99. Union and Confederate dead, Gettysburg Battlefield, Pa., July 1863.
Photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. 165-SB-36.
116. High-angle view toward the capitol, 1862.
117. Ruins in front of the Capitol, 1865.
118. Silhouette of ruins of Haxall's mills, 1865
Showing some of the destruction caused by a Confederate attempt to burn Richmond. 111-B-137.
119. The 'White House of the Confederacy,' Jefferson Davis' home
Index to Photographers
Barnard, George N., 15, 27, 59, 61, 68, 83, 88, 89, 91, 103, 104, 108, 113, 114
Brady, Mathew B., 40, 145, 151, 164, 183, 188
Cooley, Samuel A., 42, 62
Edwards, J. D., 58
Edwards, W O., 58
Fox, Egbert Guy, 55
Gardner, Alexander, 17, 21, 73, 93, 98, 201
Gardner, James, 41, 49, 110
Gibson, James F, 15, 59, 88, 89, 91
Knox, David, 60
Minnes, George W., 143
O'Sullivan, Timothy H., 18, 23, 75, 76, 95, 97, 99, 109, 111
Pywell, William R., 124
Riddle, A. J., 72
Russell, Capt. Andrew J., 79, 96
Seibert, Selmar Rush, 56, 63
How to Order
For information on ordering individual images from this select list or other individual prints, negatives, or slides from our holdings, see Ordering Still Picture Reproductions or contact the Still Picture Reference Team, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-Stills), Room 5360, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. Telephone 301-837-0561. Facsimile: 301-837-3621. E-mail: email@example.com.
Complete Slide Sets
Unless otherwise noted, the slide set consists only of black and white images.
Pictures of the Civil War
203 Slides List of Select Audiovisual Records leaflets online