Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Civil War, then and now in photos (The Guardian)

    One of my patients shared this site with me, which some of you may find of interest. It consists of pairings of iconic pictures from the American Civil War with modern pictures of the same site, and as much as possible, taken from the same perspective, etc.

The Dunker Church at Antietam after the battle (the bloodiest day in US military history)
- Library of Congress

The Dunker Church in 2015; interestingly, the church was destroyed in a storm, and wasn't rebuilt until the 100th anniversary of the battle in 1962, as part of the Antietam National Battlefield Park. I have visited Antietam twice, and both times had the eeriest feeling there. Not at all like Gettysburg, Harper's Ferry, The Wilderness, Fredericksburg, or any other civil war battlefields that I have visited. 

Anyway, consider paying The Guardian website a visit for a number of additional intriguing "then and now"pictures.

Another interesting factoid (in the section about how the modern photos were taken): Allegedly, famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady took over 10,000 photos during the Civil War, and spent $100,000 of his own money in so doing (one shudders to think what that would be in today's terms - an online estimate came up with 1.8 million dollars!). He only recouped a fraction of that, and died alone, blind and penniless. I hope that it might be some consolation to his spirit that he has hardly been forgotten more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War. It is amazing to think that I was 10 years old at the time of the Centennial of the end of the Civil War in 1965, and that the last veteran of the Civil War died a year after I was born (at age 109). This was also the time of the Civil Rights movement, and while much progress has been made since then, as a nation it seems that we have yet to put the Civil War and its origins fully behind us. 


  1. I have seen this site before but it is a good to have a reminder from time to time.
    The Antietam is was of my favorite places for a good walk.

    1. Antietam is an interesting site to visit, especially because the stream seems such a trivial obstacle, aside perhaps for artillery. The fight for "Burnside's Bridge" seems pointless.

  2. There is always something haunting about these old battlefields. I went on staff ride at Fredericksburg a few years ago, and it is was interesting trying to pull out the terrain in your head now that so much is urbanized

    1. One always gets a different feel for the battle and terrain by actually walking it!
      Still, I don't get at all the same feeling at, say Gettysburg.