Images of the Civil War

Thomas Mickleberry and Unknown Officer

Charleston is known for its historic role in the start of the Civil War when the Confederate Army fired first shots at Federal ships in the Charleston Harbor. Now there is a way to visually experience this pivotal time in American history. The Gibbes Museum of Art will host the Photography and the American Civil War exhibit showcasing exclusive footage from the antebellum period of the South.

The display will feature 200 photographs narrating this epic four-year war. Portraits of Abraham Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth, as well as images of the battle of Gettysburg and loved ones sent off to war, will grace the walls of the Gibbes Museum.

“Each photograph in this exhibition tells a story,” Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions for the Gibbes Museum said. “These photographs are fascinating; not just for the images they convey, but also for the way they were used.” Often times these pictures would be the only remaining memory of their sons, fathers and husbands who might not return home from the long-fought war.

Wall also notes, “These photographs tell the interesting intersection between history and photography during this time period.” The exhibit shares the visual story behind this substantial moment in time while also showcasing the significant role photography played in history.

A few examples of the photography featured in this exhibit:


Ruins in Charleston, South Carolina by George N. Barnard (image on left) documents the devastation of the buildings on King Street in 1865 and is a reminder of the destruction and loss the South endured.

Fatigue, Marching Order by Oliver H. Willard from 1875 (image in middle) is an example of the portraits families would keep of their husbands or sons before they left for the war.

Salient with North-west Casemates, Fort Sumer by J.M. Osborn (image on right) taken in April 1861, is particularly monumental as this was the starting location of the war and is located just a few miles from Charleston’s shore.

Charleston Place Hotel has partnered with the Gibbes Museum of Art to bring you our Images of the Civil War Package. When you book this package with Charleston Place, you can enjoy daily breakfast at The Palmetto Cafe then head over to the Gibbes Museum for a private curator led tour of the exhibit. Experience the South through the lens of photographers from long ago with this exciting demonstration of American history.

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