Faces of the Civil War:  Mapping the Liljenquist Photograph Collection

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.

Hundreds of photographs from the Liljenquist Collection are now mapped to events of the U.S. Civil War. Soldiers’ portraits are linked to the many battlefields where they fought and died. The faces of nurses are connected to the sites where they cared for the wounded. Prisoners of war are associated with the camps that confined them.

The presentation begins with three famous battles: Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Battle line maps illustrate the Union and Confederate positions for each engagement. You’ll also meet some of the people and be introduced to their lives.

Nurse Maria Hall worked at the Smoketown field hospital at Antietam, Maryland. After the war she worked with prisoners from Andersonville Prison.

Maria M.C. Hall, Civil War nurse at Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Photo from Brady, between 1861 and 1865. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.57135

The arms of Sergeant Thomas Plunkett were shot off when he carried the colors at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1862. He received the Medal of Honor for his valor.

[Sergeant Thomas Plunkett of Co. E, 21st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment in uniform with American flag] Photo by J.W. Black, between 1863 and 1865. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.49716

The young musician James P. Mills was wounded at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and at Mine Run, Virginia.

Musician James P. Mills of Co. E, 53rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment in uniform. Ambrotype, between 1862 and 1865. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.71568

An interactive map is at the end of the presentation. You can explore more than 100 battles through this map from the most famous clashes to the lesser-known skirmishes. The larger and brighter the area of color on the map, the more portraits were found in the Liljenquist Collection to associate with that place.

Screenshot of interactive map in Faces of the Civil War: Mapping the Liljenquist Collection. Areas of density and brightness indicate more photos mapped to those locations.

Zoom in on the map to view locations in more detail and click the colored areas to see associated portraits. Use the arrows at the top right of the box to scroll through additional photographs of people who were present at each location. For more information about each photograph, click on the thumbnail image to view details about the item.

With special appreciation to Katie Daughtry, who created the core story map while a Librarian-in-Residence with the Preservation Directorate, in collaboration with Micah Messenheimer and Michelle Smiley, curators of photography, Prints & Photographs Division.

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  1. Zsuzsa
    November 9, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    Wow, that is so cool!

  2. Tom Liljenquist
    November 16, 2022 at 9:31 am

    It is very gratifying to see the photographs in our collection used in such a powerful and meaningful way. You have created a deeply moving presentation that helps to put a human face on a war that killed more Americans that all of our other wars combined. This will be a great learning tool for teachers and a sure hit with students studying the Civil War. Thank you Katie, Micah and Michelle for putting this together!

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