Rare Portraits from the Civil War

Ransom Riggs

As many of you know, I'm an old photo nerd. (By which I mean, I'm a nerd for old photos, not ... oh, never mind.) So naturally I was excited to learn that the Liljenquist family, collectors of rare tintypes and ambrotypes, just donated more than 700 Civil War-era portraits of Union and Confederate soldiers to the Library of Congress. That means we all get to see them! Many are available right now on Flickr. From the Flickr set notes:

These fascinating photographs represent the impact of the war, which involved many young enlisted men and the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers. The photos feature details that enhance their interest, including horses, drums, muskets, rifles, revolvers, hats and caps, canteens, and a guitar. Among the rarest images are African Americans in uniform, sailors, a Lincoln campaign button, and portraits with families, women, and girls and boys.

Kudos to the Liljenquists for their passion in collecting them, and their generosity in donating them. Here's a picture of Brandon Liljenquist with the whole collection:

The Library of Congress and Flickr are asking for help in identifying any of the soldiers pictured, as many are unknown. So if anyone looks like your great-great-(great?)-grandfather, leave a tag or a comment on the photo!