The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Making Connections

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

The Civil War can be viewed through a medium that was developing at the same time: photography. Mathew Brady and his associates photographed many battlefields, camps, towns, and people touched by the war. Due to technological limitations at the time, their images depict the multiple aspects of the war except one crucial element: battle.

Quickly scan the following images and choose 3 photos for deeper analysis to uncover aspects of a soldier's life in the Civil War.  For your 3 chosen photos, consider the following:

  • Study the photo for 2 minutes.
  • Create a chart listing the people, objects, and actions in the photo.
  • What can you infer from the photo?
  • What questions does this photo raise in your mind?


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Making Connections

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Fill in any blanks in the sequence with your thoughts and write your conclusion response in the space provided.

Colors of 23rd Infantry, N.Y


Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, VA


View in Wilderness, VA


Pontoon across Rappahannock River, VA (alson cavalry column.)


Battery in action at Fredericksburg, VA


Wounded soldiers under trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg. After the battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.


Wounded soldiers in hospital


Confederate prisoners waiting for transportation, Belle Plain, VA


Company of Infantry on parade. Part of 6th Maine Infantry after battle of Fredericksburg. At time of the charge across stone wall at foot of Marye Heights Gen. Hooker in command of Federals, Gen. Fitz


Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA


Virginia, Fredericksburg, Battery D, Second United States Artillery.


Virginia, Fredericksburg, Pontoon Bridge across the Rappahannock river.


Union breastworks. Interior view of breastworks on Little Round Top, Gettysburg.


Camp of the 44th N.Y. Inf. near Alexandria, VA


Camp scene. Showing winter huts and corduroy roads


Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, construction corps at work, VA





1

Activity Element

Colors of 23rd Infantry, N.Y

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2

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Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, VA

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3

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View in Wilderness, VA

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4

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Pontoon across Rappahannock River, VA (alson cavalry column.)

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5

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Battery in action at Fredericksburg, VA

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6

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Wounded soldiers under trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg. After the battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.

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7

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Wounded soldiers in hospital

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8

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Confederate prisoners waiting for transportation, Belle Plain, VA

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9

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Company of Infantry on parade. Part of 6th Maine Infantry after battle of Fredericksburg. At time of the charge across stone wall at foot of Marye Heights Gen. Hooker in command of Federals, Gen. Fitz

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10

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Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA

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11

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Virginia, Fredericksburg, Battery D, Second United States Artillery.

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12

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Virginia, Fredericksburg, Pontoon Bridge across the Rappahannock river.

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13

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Union breastworks. Interior view of breastworks on Little Round Top, Gettysburg.

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14

Activity Element

Camp of the 44th N.Y. Inf. near Alexandria, VA

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15

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Camp scene. Showing winter huts and corduroy roads

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16

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Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, construction corps at work, VA

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Conclusion

The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Making Connections

Based on your analysis of these photographs, compile a list of adjectives that describe the life of a soldier during the Civil War.

Your Response




Document

Colors of 23rd Infantry, N.Y

ca. 1860 - 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 529517
Full Citation: Colors of 23rd Infantry, N.Y; ca. 1860 - 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/colors-of-23rd-infantry-ny, December 10, 2019]


Colors of 23rd Infantry, N.Y

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Document

Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, VA

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524447
Full Citation: Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, VA; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/wilderness-near-chancellorsville-va, December 10, 2019]


Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, VA

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Document

View in Wilderness, VA

ca. 1860 - 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 529193
Full Citation: View in Wilderness, VA; ca. 1860 - 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/view-in-wilderness-va, December 10, 2019]


View in Wilderness, VA

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Document

Pontoon Across Rappahannock River, VA (also Cavalry Column)

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524925
Full Citation: Photograph 111-B-508; Pontoon Across Rappahannock River, VA (also Cavalry Column); ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/rappahannock-pontoon, December 10, 2019]


Pontoon Across Rappahannock River, VA (also Cavalry Column)

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Document

Battery in action at Fredericksburg, VA

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524733
Full Citation: Battery in action at Fredericksburg, VA; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/battery-in-action-at-fredericksburg-va, December 10, 2019]


Battery in action at Fredericksburg, VA

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Document

Wounded soldiers under trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg. After the battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.

1864

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524768
Full Citation: Wounded soldiers under trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg. After the battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.; 1864; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/wounded-soldiers-fredericksburg-after-battle-spotsylvania, December 10, 2019]


Wounded soldiers under trees, Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg. After the battle of Spotsylvania, 1864.

Page 1



Document

Wounded soldiers in hospital

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524705
Full Citation: Wounded soldiers in hospital; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/wounded-soldiers-in-hospital, December 10, 2019]


Wounded soldiers in hospital

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Document

Confederate prisoners waiting for transportation, Belle Plain, VA

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524824
Full Citation: Confederate prisoners waiting for transportation, Belle Plain, VA; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/confederate-prisoners-waiting-for-transportation-belle-plain-va, December 10, 2019]


Confederate prisoners waiting for transportation, Belle Plain, VA

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Document

Company of Infantry on parade. Part of 6th Maine Infantry after battle of Fredericksburg. At time of the charge across stone wall at foot of Marye Heights Gen. Hooker in command of Federals, Gen. Fitz

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524587
Full Citation: Company of Infantry on parade. Part of 6th Maine Infantry after battle of Fredericksburg. At time of the charge across stone wall at foot of Marye Heights Gen. Hooker in command of Federals, Gen. Fitz; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/company-of-infantry-on-parade-after-battle-of-fredericksburg, December 10, 2019]


Company of Infantry on parade. Part of 6th Maine Infantry after battle of Fredericksburg. At time of the charge across stone wall at foot of Marye Heights Gen. Hooker in command of Federals, Gen. Fitz

Page 1



Document

Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA

ca. 1861 - 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524930
Full Citation: Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA; ca. 1861 - 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/confederate-dead-behind-stone-wall-fredericksburg-va, December 10, 2019]


Confederate dead behind stone wall. The 6th. Maine Inf. penetrated the Confederate lines at this point. Fredericksburg, VA

Page 1



Document

Virginia, Fredericksburg, Battery D, Second United States Artillery.

1863

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs.
National Archives Identifier: 533305
Full Citation: Virginia, Fredericksburg, Battery D, Second United States Artillery.; 1863; Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/virginia-fredericksburg-battery-d-second-united-states-artillery, December 10, 2019]


Virginia, Fredericksburg, Battery D, Second United States Artillery.

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Document

Virginia, Fredericksburg, Pontoon Bridge across the Rappahannock river.

5/1863

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs.
National Archives Identifier: 533306
Full Citation: Virginia, Fredericksburg, Pontoon Bridge across the Rappahannock river.; 5/1863; Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/virginia-fredericksburg-pontoon-bridge-across-the-rappahannock-river, December 10, 2019]


Virginia, Fredericksburg, Pontoon Bridge across the Rappahannock river.

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Document

Union breastworks. Interior view of breastworks on Little Round Top, Gettysburg.

ca. 1860 - 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 530424
Full Citation: Union breastworks. Interior view of breastworks on Little Round Top, Gettysburg.; ca. 1860 - 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/union-breastworks-interior-view-of-breastworks-on-little-round-top-gettysburg, December 10, 2019]


Union breastworks. Interior view of breastworks on Little Round Top, Gettysburg.

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Document

Camp of the 44th N.Y. Inf. near Alexandria, VA

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524564
Full Citation: Camp of the 44th N.Y. Inf. near Alexandria, VA; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/camp-of-the-44th-ny-inf-near-alexandria-va, December 10, 2019]


Camp of the 44th N.Y. Inf. near Alexandria, VA

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Document

Camp scene. Showing winter huts and corduroy roads

ca. 1860 - ca. 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 524642
Full Citation: Camp scene. Showing winter huts and corduroy roads; ca. 1860 - ca. 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/camp-scene-showing-winter-huts-and-corduroy-roads, December 10, 2019]


Camp scene. Showing winter huts and corduroy roads

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Document

Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, construction corps at work, VA

ca. 1860 - 1865

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer.
National Archives Identifier: 528988
Full Citation: Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, construction corps at work, VA; ca. 1860 - 1865; Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, 1921 - 1940; Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/aquia-creek-and-fredericksburg-railroad-construction-corps-at-work-va, December 10, 2019]


Aquia Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad, construction corps at work, VA

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