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Jon Eaker, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division
Micah Messenheimer, Curator, Prints & Photographs Division
Melissa Lindberg, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division
Created: November 2018
Last Updated: May 2020
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.*
Information about each soldier comes from:
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.
Some essays in this guide were written by contributors who have worked with images from the Liljenquist Family Collection: Ron Coddington, historian and editor of the magazine, Military Images and Elizabeth Lindqwister, the summer 2019 Liljenquist Family Fellow.
* 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.