When I began this series, I asked myself why I am among thousands of people who are so intrigued by the Civil War? First, the sheer scale of the conflict - (if 2.4% of Americans died in a war today, as they did over the course of the Civil War, the nation would lose over 7 million people), but I think more telling is the fact that the issues being fought over in the 1860s remain pertinent and controversial i.e., the character of our nation, opposing ideas of freedom, and citizenship for the people in it.
In my mind, the soldiers of the Civil War are not dead. They live on in history books, old tintypes, letters home to loved ones, personal stories of sorrow and sympathy, and live re-enactments.
My interest lies not in the analysis of strategies, causes, principles, or consequences. I am particularly astounded, humbled and in awe of the men that marched off side by side, into battle. Line by line, brother marched alongside brother, father alongside son, often on opposite sides, under no cover, into direct fire; obeying the command to charge. Often with certain defeat, they fought, month after month, year after year. Their awe-inspiring stories, and the cost of their conflict still resonate.
While researching and working with the tintypes I used for these portraits, I found myself studying each face. Who were these men? What were their stories? Who did they leave behind when they left to fight?
All portraits are from original photographs (tintypes, ambrotypes, etc.) taken during the Civil War and were created by combining the actual base photograph, my own photographs, photographs and/or illustrations done by artists and photographers of the time, and scans taken by me of various objects, locations, and, when necessary, (due to the quality of the original photograph) body parts of other people, Where possible, I have provided a brief biography.
With these portraits, I attempt to give each soldier a voice. Look at their faces. What do they say to you?