2011 marked the beginning of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, a defining event in American and world history. The conflict still generates significant interest among Americans, which can be seen in the excitement for various sesquicentennial events planned for the next four years. The Civil War was the first conflict to see the widespread use of photography, a medium which was put to use to document many different aspects of the war. Matthew Brady, some of whose photographs can be seen in this gallery, is considered the father of photojournalism, and many of his photos will feature prominently in the series of stories and photo galleries we will be running to commemorate the anniversary over the coming four years.
Civil War 150th Anniversary I Photos
Civilian and military leaders
This photograph, taken on Oct. 3, 1862, shows President Abraham Lincoln with Detective Allan Pinkerton (left) and Maj. Gen. John McClernand. Allan Pinkerton served as head of Union Intelligence Services during the war, and later founded the famous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, who commanded the Confederate forces who fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. His poor relationship with Confederate President Jefferson Davis prevented him from achieving greater success in the Civil War. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Gen. George B. McClellan (right of center, wearing sash) and his staff. McClellan was the second commander of the Amy of the Potomac and helped organize that unit into the premier Union Army. His vanity and arrogance, however, caused him to clash with President Lincoln, and he was eventually relieved of command. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was one of Gen. Robert E. Lee's most valuable generals, and one that caused fits for his Union opponents. When he was killed in an episode of friendly fire by his own men at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee referred to it as akin to "losing my right arm." National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who led Union forces to victory in the Civil War, was noted for his aggressiveness. When asked about rumors of Grant's drinking, President Lincoln is quoted as having said; "I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals." National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, was offered command of the Union Army by President Lincoln at the start of the war, but turned it down because he felt he couldn't wage war against his native state of Virginia. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and staff (from left to right): Generals Oliver O. Howard, John A. Logan, William B. Hazen, Sherman, Jefferson Davis, Henry W. Slocum, and Joseph Mower. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady. Gen. George Meade was the last commander of the Army of the Potomac and the victor of the Battle of Gettysburg, which is remembered as being the high-water mark of the Confederacy. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady Capt. Raphael Semmes, the commander officer of the commerce raider CSS Alabama, standing by his ship's 110-pounder rifled gun during her visit to Capetown in August 1863. His executive officer, 1st Lt. John M. Kell, is in the background, standing by the ship's wheel. The Confederacy lacked the resources for an effective navy and relied on raiders to try to disrupt the Union blockade. The Alabama was the most successful raider, destroying 65 merchant ships. U.S. Navy photo Gen. Philip H. Sheridan became one of the preeminent cavalry commanders of the Civil War. His skill as commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac resulted in the Union horse soldiers finally besting the Confederate cavalry. National Archives photo by Matthew Brady