The Library of Congress has released 700 portraits of Americans taken during the Civil War. In remembrance of the Union and Confederate soldiers who served in the American Civil War (1861-1865), the Liljenquist Family donated their collection of almost 700 ambrotype and tintype photographs to the Library of Congress.
As most of the people in the images are unidentified, the Library is hoping to tap the collective knowledge of the crowd to find out more about the people in these images.
As an historical archive, the Liljenquist family collection shows Civil War garb, weapons, musical instruments and family portraits. According to the Library of Congress “These fascinating photographs represent the impact of the war, which involved many young enlisted men and the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers. The photos feature details that enhance their interest, including horses, drums, muskets, rifles, revolvers, hats and caps, canteens, and a guitar. Among the rarest images are African Americans in uniform, sailors, a Lincoln campaign button, and portraits with families, women, and girls and boys.”
The collection also represents an important resource in early photography. The ambrotype made use of the wet plate colloidion process on glass to create images that were cheaper than — and in some ways more attractive than — the daguerrotype. The tintype or ferrotype, which came into use at about the same time as the ambrotype — in the 1850s — was made by creating a direct positive images on treated iron metal.
See the collection here.