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Department 1

Civil War Institute


As the first war to see the extensive use of photography, the American Civil War was brought home to civilians in hundreds of photographs portraying camp life or the aftermath of battles. Due to the nature of nineteenth century photography as well as safety concerns, however, photographers were not able to capture scenes of actual combat for their viewers. This task fell instead to men known as Special Artists or “Specials,” hired by the illustrated periodicals of the day to travel with the armies and sketch all manner of events associated with the military, including battles as they progressed. [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.