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Civil War Men and Women: Glimpses of Their Lives Through Photography

A set of essays about the lives and wartime experiences of particular Civil War soldiers using photographic portraits from the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

Introduction

Sample images from the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Looking directly into the faces of the people who served during the Civil War opens an amazing doorway into history. The set of essays in this guide offers glimpses of the lives of these men and women—what they ate and whom they missed, how far they marched in the mud, how they aided others on the front lines or the home front, when they were wounded or captured, or at last discharged. These essays are shaped by both traces and holes in the historical record and are far from complete. But from clues like a name and a regiment, a letter or a drawing, a pension record, or a poem, a small story of a person’s life can be gleaned.*

About the Essays

Information about each soldier comes from:

  • Documents in the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, many of which were acquired with the photographs
  • Published histories of the Civil War and Civil War regiments
  • The American Civil War Research Database, a subscription resource available on site at the Library of Congress
  • Records at the National Archives

Use the navigation menu for this guide to read each soldier's story. Each essay is accompanied by relevant photographs and images from the Library of Congress collections. For more information about the illustrations, follow the caption links. 

Most essays in this guide were written by Ron Coddington, historian and editor of the magazine, Military Images (East Stroudsburg, PA : Harry Roach); online site: http://militaryimagesmagazine.com/ External. Coddington is the author of several books about the Civil War and a contributor to multiple publications, including the New York Times and Civil War News.

* Cautionary note: In some cases, the person's name came from a note found with the photo. We can't be absolutely sure that the photo shows that person unless a second portrait is found. We're making an assumption.

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