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How Photography Helped Change People's Opinions Of The Civil War

1131 words - 5 pages

through some author’s point of view which usually contained useless bias, people were able to look at photographs and criticize the written propaganda about the good outcomes of comes, since most of the photographs depicted death and destruction. Furthermore, Matthew Brady’s opening of the civil war photo gallery in New York City in 1862 gave more and more people the access to experience war through realistic photographs which changed many people’s perception of the war. Over 1000 pictures and portraits were displayed in glass display cases. While it covered most of the war, Brady’s major focus was on the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam which represented event such as blood stains on grass and the myriads of unburied bodies. Specifically, the photos of "Dead: Horse of Confederate Colonel (picture 2), both killed at Battle of Antietam" and "Dead Confederate Sharpshooter at Gettysburg," both depict lifelike elements of dead human beings which was bothersome to many people and made them grow exhausted of war, since most of them had the hidden feeling that it could be possibly their husband or son that had previously ridden that horse. Also, "Three Children of the Battlefield" taken during the battle of Gettysburg became a highly controversial photograph since it provided a clear insight of effects of war on the destruction of families. Moreover, The enormous outcry of the people led to raise money to open an orphanage in Gettysburg for children of fallen Union soldiers.
Furthermore, The medium of photography also gave people a glimpse of improved weaponry such as canons and rifles; hardships faced by soldiers such as torn clothes and lack of food; armies on the move and wounded soldiers suffering at hospitals. In addition, photography also became a mode for soldiers to keep pictures of their loved ones close to them and also for their families to keep a picture of them in memory of their service to the country. Most civil war photography depicts dead soldiers on the battlefields with picture lockets (picture 3) in their hands which has photographs of their loved ones. Furthermore, these photos also made people criticize mass murders and the cause of fighting the war and they also helped increase unity among certain regions of the United States. For instance, William Tecumseh Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” (picture 4) represents economic hardships and psychological pain that southerners suffered at Sherman’s hands when the soldiers destroyed crops, homes, and, most importantly, civilian infrastructure and transportation systems. This photograph was specifically eye opening to the rest of the public who were fortunate enough to stay away from the war, since the photographs depicted not only the carnage but also the the war’s profound consequences, for American citizens and American soil.
Nevertheless, civil war photography was able to represent one of the most important set of people that were involved in the war who were fighting for their...

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