Thursday, June 7, 2012

Civil War Requiem - Images of the dead at Petersburg, Virginia, April 1865


The Petersburg Campaign began on June 9, 1864, and would last nearly ten, destructive months. On April 2, 1865 Union forces broke through along the thinly defended Confederate works surrounding the city. Inside fallen Fort Mahone, photographer Thomas C. Roche documented the aftermath in a graphic series of images, offering grim testament to the human cost that war exacts. Some of those scenes are compiled in the video above by Dave of Shorpy.com. Created from high resolution scans of the original glass negatives in the Library of Congress collection, the video details the mud caked bodies of the fallen southern defenders, strewn across the landscape. Visible amongst the human wreckage are the numerous elements of war debris. Empty cartridge papers, frantically discarded in the heat of battle, carpet the ground in one close-up. A pile of coal, used by the fort's occupants for warmth in the cool evenings preceding the battle, is featured in another.

4 comments:

Todd Berkoff said...

Hi John. What fort were these dead soldiers defending? In other words, where exactly were these photos taken?

John Cummings said...

Hello Todd. These were taken inside Fort Mahone, across from Fort Sedgwick (Fort Hell), on the Jerusalem Plank Road. Nothing remains of either today.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Anyone know what the music is from? Britten's "War Requiem" perhaps?

John Cummings said...

According to the man who put the video together it is the "Requiem in C minor" by Luigi Cherubini. Here is the Wikipedia link about the piece: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_(Cherubini)