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.