When we think of war, we’re liable to brood on all the bad things that happened. In the case of the Civil War, we remember think how this was the conflict that caused the most significant loss of life in American history.
The number of war dead is estimated at 625,000 people. Some 210,000 of the total were soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefields.
One story of interest, which makes clear the family divisions created by the struggle, is that of the Crittenden brothers. They were both generals, but one brother sided with the North, and the other served the South.
Forgotten memorabilia, such as this collection of photographs, remind us of the amazing affection that soldiers expressed for each other at that time, through all the horror of war.
Army men of the era were prone to share their affection and empathy for one another.
Soldiers often chose to be photographed with a comrade they were close to. Note their stance and how many of them have their arms gently laid on one another.
Not all men have been identified.
Some men from the photographs are perhaps feeling proud that they wear the Union or the Confederate uniforms.
Others look like real gentlemen, especially when we can observe their complete outfit: the boots are on, dress gloves cover the palms of their hands, and perhaps the forage caps adorn their heads.
Along with them for photo day, some soldiers have their weapon ready: a barrel shotgun or a cavalry saber.
One of the most “bromantic” pairs of all is probably the one where the two men are holding their cigars in each other’s mouths.
On a few of the photos, you will notice the American flag too. Everything is frozen in that moment of compassion.
So yes, apparently, beyond the horrors, the American Civil War was a time of personal loyalty as well. The friendship of the men can be seen so vividly in these images. It is also quite possible that some of them never saw each other again after taking the photograph.