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How to Use the Images

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

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Illustration 1

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Visual Evidence


Photo 1: A Confederate cannon
inside the siege works. The muzzle was
broken off by Union artillery fire.
[Graphic] Photo 1 with link to higher quality photo.
(Massachusetts MOLLUS Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA)

Photo 2: Confederate "rat holes" (dug-out caves) within the defensive lines. There was a Federal artillery position along the tree line in the distance. [Graphic] Photo 2 with link to higher quality photo.
(National Archives)

Photo 3: A Confederate cannon demolished by Federal artillery fire. The earthworks include a barrel (upper left) with a hole for sharpshooting. This was nicknamed "Fort Desperate." [Graphic] Photo 3 with link to higher quality photo.
(National Archives)

Photo 4: A gully used by Federal troops as a siege camp. The horizontal line at the base of the standing trees is a series of Confederate earthworks. [Graphic] Photo 4 with link to higher quality photo.
(Massachusetts MOLLUS Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA)

Photo 5: A Union artillery battery at Port Hudson. The white material in the foreground is cotton, bales of which were used to protect the cannoneers from Confederate fire. [Graphic] Photo 5 with link to higher quality photo.
(Massachusetts MOLLUS Collection, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA)

Photos 1-3 were made immediately after the Confederate surrender, and photos 4 and 5 were made during the siege.

The Civil War was the first major event in American history to be extensively recorded by photographers. The technology of the day allowed them to produce numerous copies of photographs; soldiers could then buy prints and send them to their loved ones. While newspapers then did not have the technology to publish photos, they often featured artists' drawings made from photographs. Together photos and sketches gave civilians at home an opportunity to see firsthand the destruction and devastation that war caused. This greatly affected public opinion on the war and the way it was being fought.

Questions for Photos 1-5

1. What methods did the Confederates use to defend their position?

2. What methods did the Union use to protect themselves and to make the Confederates submit?

3. Which reading does Photo 4 recall? Why?

4. Which photograph best helps you understand the atmosphere of a siege? Why?

* The photos on the screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, & Photo 5, but be aware that each file will take as much as 60 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.