Civil War: Then and Now

May 26 2020 - May 26 2020

Civil War: Then and Now

Drag the slider to toggle from "Then" to "Now" image. Each of the Civil War images below is available on the Library of Congress website.

  • May 26 2020 - May 26 2020

Chancellorsville: Site of Stonewall Jackson’s mortal wounding

On May 2, 1863, Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville, site of his greatest triumph. Nearly three years after the calamity that rocked the South, George Oscar Brown photographed the scene, part of an extensive series of photos of central Virginia battlefields he took during a U.S. Army medical expedition. The caption on the April 1866 stereoview, the earliest known image of the Jackson wounding site, notes the general was shot to the left of the two men who appear at the center of the photo. Dr. Reed Bonetecou, who led the expedition for the U.S. Army Medical Museum, is believed to be at the far left.

Antietam: Union graves at Burnside Bridge

In one of the more poignant images of the war, a soldier poses near Burnside Bridge among the freshly dug graves of comrades who were killed or mortally wounded Sept. 17, 1862. This image is a cropped enlargement of Alexander Gardner’s photograph.

Brandy Station: Farley plantation mansion, VI Corps headquarters

In the winter of 1863-64, Union Gen. John Sedgwick made his headquarters at Farley, the plantation house of Dr. William Wellford of Fredericksburg. Sedgwick and his staff appear in front of the impressive house in the photograph by Mathew Brady. The mansion is privately owned today.

Cedar Mountain: Union graves on battlefield


Union soldiers appear at graves of comrades as Cedar Mountain looms in the background in this cropped enlargement of an image by Timothy O’Sullivan. The battle, fought near Culpeper, Va., resulted in a Confederate victory on Aug. 9, 1862.

Gettysburg: Union defenses on Culp’s Hill


In this Mathew Brady photograph, assistants of the renowned photographer pose behind Union breastworks and among bullet-riddled trees.

Gettysburg: Body of Confederate in Slaughter Pen


In one of the more gruesome images of the war, the body of a Confederate soldier, a weapon near his side, lies in the Slaughter Pen at the foot of Little Round Top and near Devil’s Den. This scene is only steps from a parking lot for battlefield visitors today.

Antietam: David R. Miller farmhouse


Although some of the most intense fighting of the Civil War swirled around the property of farmer David R. Miller on Sept. 17, 1862, his house and barn suffered surprisingly little damage during the battle. Members of Miller’s family are believed to be on the porch in the cropped enlargement of Alexander Gardner’s photo. In the first image above, Miller himself may be at left, barely visible under the tree.

Gettysburg: Widow Thompson’s house, Lee’s headquarters


Army of Northern Virginia commander Robert E. Lee made his headquarters at Mary Thompson’s stone house near the crest of Seminary Ridge along the Chambersburg Pike. The 70-year-old widow is posed seated in a chair next to one of Mathew Brady’s assistants.

Gettysburg: Sheads house on Chambersburg Pike


When Union lines collapsed on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, some Federal soldiers sought refuge in Carrie Sheads’ house, opened as private school in 1862. The Civil War-era image was taken by the Tyson Brothers of Gettysburg.