The Capitol, Washington DC, USA, c 1863.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Albumen print from the album asembled by John Downes Rochfort. Rochfort visited all the major American Civil War sites in 1867 and some of the photographs he purchased en route have since become some of that war's best known images. Up to this time war had been portrayed as a series of heroic tableaux; many of the photographs in Rochfort's album revealed its realities for the first time. The American Civil War (1861-1865) was fought over the isues of slavery and the rights of individual states. It was precipitated by the secesion of South Carolina from the Union when Abraham Lincoln, who supported the abolition of slavery, was elected President in 1860. Over 600,000 soldiers died before the Union finally defeated the Confederate rebels.