The Civil War was by far the deadliest war in United States history, resulting in over one million casualties. More than 5,000 battles took place between 1861-1865, across more than twenty states.
The war broke out twenty years after photography was introduced, so the concept of using photos to document events didn’t yet exist. These rare historical Civil War photos were believed to be the first attempt at photojournalism.
In 1943 the Library of Congress purchased a collection of over 7,000 of these rare photographs for archival purposes, many of which recently became digitally available on their website. This is a collection of some of our favorites from the archive.