Question of the Week: 3/15-3/21/21

Some more historic photography questions…

What is your favorite colorized Civil War photograph?

What is your favorite original (black and white) Civil War photograph?

12 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/15-3/21/21

  1. Colorized CW photograph: Lincoln with his Generals at Sharpsburg Fall 1862, Lincoln towering over McClellan and friends.

    Original CW B&W photograph: Officers of the U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade, Culpeper, Va. September 1863, Officer with guitar.

  2. Both are my great-great grandfather. Color: his wedding photo as Lt. and Adjutant. B&W: his photo as Sgt. Major. He served from 1862-1865 in the 4th Maryland Infantry in the Maryland Brigade.

  3. I wouldn’t call them ‘favorites’ because of how gruesome they are, but I would call them among the most compelling photos I have viewed, and the two I think of are the photo of the dead at the Sunken Road at Antietam, and the skeletal remains unearthed at Cold Harbor. Both are in black and white.

  4. Mathew Brady’s famous B&W photo of three captured Confederate soldiers after the Battle of Gettysburg. Although POWs, they still look defiant, obviously part of a lean, mean fighting machine. No wonder it took the Army of the Potomac four bloody years to defeat them.

  5. B&W:
    In 2D my favorite for now is the enlarged portion of a July, 1863 photo on another website, taken from Little Round Top, of Devil’s Den and (maybe) its witness tree. It has on the same page a picture taken recently from the same spot, showing the same rocks, boulders and locations identified for comparison. You can find it by doing a Google search using the words “Devil’s Den Witness Tree in 1863 Photo?”.
    No preference.

  6. I think some of the colorizations of portraits have been effective, although I don’t have a particular favorite.

    As far as B&W, I would have to say either the image of the Sunken Road at Fredericksburg taken after the May 3, 1863, fight (most people assume it’s a photo taken after the December battle) or the image of the dead Confederate sharpshooter at Devil’s Den.

    That latter is such an iconic image, and while there’s been much written about it and it’s been the subject of some controversy, there’s no denying that it’s captivating. It’s the Civil War photo that really grabbed my attention and fired my imagination when I was a kid, and I was always excited to go visit that spot whenever I went to the battlefield.

    The former is a favorite because of the amount of time I’ve spent telling stories about both battles of Fredericksburg and the amount of time I’ve spent studying the photo. Kris White and I used it on the cover of our book “Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front.” The graphic nature of the death and destruction is well illustrated in that image.

  7. My favorite image, colored or not, is Private Frank Brownell standing atop the Marshall House Flag in Brady’s Washington studio. He wears a black mourning band around his arm for his leader, Colonel Elmer Ellsworth. His anger just shakes from the image toward the viewer. Very powerful, manly, Yankee, Irish, New Yorker…every inch dedicated to seeing his duty–getting Col. Ellsworth’s remains to Mechanicville, and buried. Brings a tear to my eye on a regular basis.

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: