A National Historical Society Photographic Portrait of the Civil War. In Association With Civil War Times. William C. Davis, Editor. William A. Frassanito, Photographic Consultant. Published by Blackdog & Levanthal Publishers, New York, 1997. Hardcover with dust jacket. Large 10 x 10 1/4 size. 647 pages, index, profusely illustrated. Excellent.
In this striking chronicle, the American Civil War comes to life through the lenses of such extraordinary photographers as Alexander Gardner, Timothy O'Sullivan, J.D. Edwards, J.W. Petty, A.J. Russell, Mathew Brady and his numerous assistants, and scores of others. Found in attics, old albums, on forgotten shelves in libraries and archives, the images of real faces and places in "Touched by Fire" reveal the underlying drama, tragedies, and pain of a war that split one nation in two. Essays by eminent Civil War scholars and the entertaining, informative captions accompanying each picture highlight the viewpoints of citizens and soldiers often neglected in history texts and illuminate in detail the nature of Civil War leadership and command, the spirit of the individual regiments, the role of the oft-forgotten navies on both sides, and the continental scope of the war and its impact on the land and on communities large and small.
"Touched by Fire" is at once a panoramic overview of the conflict and an album that focuses our attention on the personal, human aspects of a nation at war. Pictures of peaceful landscapes that would be transformed into battlefields, of humble churches and elegant plantations in the South that would soon vanish, remind us of the profound, far-reaching destruction of the war. Photographs of Shiloh, Chickamauga, Antietam- the bloodiest single day in American's entire military history- of Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg, and thousands of other lesser-known engagements, not only present graphic evidence of the realities of battle but highlight how the tactics used during the Civil War almost inevitably led to immense suffering and appalling death counts among the triumphant armies as well as the vanquished. Mighty battleships are seen side by side with hospital ships, the first ever built to care for the naval wounded. The faces of the two presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, and of their political allies, of the Blacks who went to war as soldiers, paid laborers, and servants, and of women who disguised themselves as fighters, served as nurses, and brought the comforts of home to desolate army camps, make it clear that the Civil War was unquestionably "everyone's war."
The story of the war is perhaps most starkly, and most poignantly, recorded in the hundreds of photographs of the men and boys- soldiers ranged in age from as young as thirteen to well over fifty- who offered their lives for the land they loved. Evocative portraits of the men charged with leading the troops- including Union officers Grant, McClellan, Burnside, Farragut, Custer, and Sherman, and, across the line, Lee, Beauregard, Longstreet, and Hood- are accompanied by concise and candid evaluations of their performances. From group photographs of the hundreds who enlisted in small towns throughout the country as the war began, to shots of newly trained regiments posing proudly with shiny new ceremonial swords or with antiquated weapons brought from home, to men shown crowded in the squalor of such notorious prisoner-of-war camps as Andersonville, to horrific depictions of the dead and dying stretching as far as the eye can see, "Touched by Fire" presents the fate of the common soldier in matchless, unforgettable images.
The result of an historic collaboration between the National Historical Society and Civil War Times, "Touched by Fire" offers an unprecedented view of the Civil War and brilliantly captures the emergence of photography as the truest and most authentic record of the passions and the horrors of war.
A magnificent and moving portrayal of America at war and of a generation "touched by fire."
1,200 rare black and white photographs, many reproduced from recently discovered original glass plate negatives.
Haunting scenes of tranquil encampments and of battlegrounds steeped in blood.
Portraits of the men in the ranks and of the men who led them.
A fascinating gallery of ships and seamen.
A revealing look at the industries that fed the war efforts, from railroads to weapon production.
Enlightening essays by some of today's foremost historians.