Faces of the American Civil War

[Unidentified soldier in Union corporal's uniform holding kepi] (LOC)

[Two unidentified soldiers in Union uniforms holding cigars in each others' mouths] (LOC)

The Library of Congress just uploaded nearly 700 faces of the American Civil War, from the Liljenquist Family Collection. Most of the people in these photos are unidentified, so we’d love your help adding tags and comments if you have any information about these images. There is a lot of detail; you can search the collection for studio backdrops, personal notes found with the images, young people, Union or Confederate soldiers or group portraits.

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. – Civil War Faces set notes

[Unidentified young African American soldier in Union uniform] (LOC)    [Unidentified African American soldier in Union uniform with bayoneted musket, cap box, and cartridge box] (LOC)

[Unidentified young soldier in Union uniform and Hardee hat with bayoneted musket] (LOC)    [Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with Zouave fez and bayoneted musket in front of painted backdrop showing American flag] (LOC)

[Unidentified soldier in Union officer's uniform at Point Lookout, Tennessee, sitting with cavalry saber in hand and slouch hat resting beside him on a rock] (LOC)

Equally fascinating is Brandon Liljenquist’s essay about why the family collected these portraits. We hope you’ll spend some time perusing this unique and poignant collection. It’s part of The Commons on Flickr, whose key goals are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

Photos from the Library of Congress.