In honor of Memorial Day, here are some of my favorite photographs from the Civil War. Predictably, they’re all Union soldiers (I can’t bring myself to honor Confederates today) and the commonality here is that they’re soldiers in the face of almost certain death — brutal death — and yet there’s a jaunty swagger about them. These aren’t scowling marble statues of equestrian superheroes — these are real men and boys in arguably the most harrowing circumstances imaginable.
Click each on to enlarge. It’s worth it to see the faces.
Possibly my favorite Civil War photo:
Today’s holiday originated as a commemoration of the Americans who were killed in the Civil War. On average one out of every five of the men shown above never made it home alive.