Photographs Left Behind on the Battlefields of the U.S. Civil War

 The Museum of the Confederacy located inRichmond, Virginia is home to several antique photographs carried by soldiers who fought in the first American Civil War. Photos lost on the battlefield were often picked up by other soldiers and handed down through families. Over the years, some have made their way to the museum.  Unfortunately, the people in the photos have yet to be identified and as time goes on, the chances of ever knowing their names diminishes.

Photo of an unidentified girl found on the battlefield at Port Republic, Virginia lying between the bodies of a Union and Confederate soldier. It was discovered by Confederate Private Thomas W. Timberlake of Company G. 2nd Virgina infantry.

Photo of an unknown woman found in the personal effects of a soldier identified as Joseph Warren.

Another photo found in Joseph Warren’s belongings.

This photo was discovered in a copy of the Bible with the name “John Brice” written in it. They were found inside a tent in North Carolina during the war.

An unidentified soldier left this photo of himself with Mrs. L.M.C. Lee of Cornith, Mississippi on the eve of the Battle of Shiloh. He is presumed to have been killed in the battle.

The same soldier also left this photo of himself, a woman and two children (presumably his wife and children) with Mrs. Lee on the eve of the Battle of Shiloh.

Photo of an unidentified girl found by Private Heartwell Kincaid Adams of the 3rd Virgina Calvary a few days before Appomattox. The photo was inside a knapsack he had taken off the body of a dead Union soldier at High Bridge.

Photo of an unidentified militia lieutenant found on a battlefield near Richmond, Virginia.

A locket containing the photo of a young child found on a battlefield in 1863 by a soldier in Hampton’s Cavalry Brigade.

The Museum of the Confederacy recently reached out to the public in hopes of identifying the subjects of these photos. If you have any helpful information or wish to learn more about the collection please visit

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If you enjoyed this article, you might also like Life Before Death: Overcoming the Fear of Death Through Modern Postmortem Photography, Postmortem Family Photos, Possible Relatives: Photos Inside the Homes of the Recently Deceased, The Bombing of Guernica and John Wilkes Booth’s Disturbing Artwork


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