Media: Slideshow

Army of the James

Army of the James

Images by Union photographers capture scenes in Virginia in and around the Army of the James, an independent command created in April 1864 and placed under the leadership of Union general Benjamin F. Butler. The photos show various aspects of wartime life, including both light-hearted moments and some of the uncomfortable realities: "Adams Express for the Army of the James"—pictured here in 1864, in Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, where the army was headquartered—was a company that specialized in transporting dead bodies in a safe and sanitary manner; soldiers have set up tents next to the earthen walls protecting the Union's Fort Burnham (known as Fort Harrison when controlled by the Confederates) on Butler's lines north of the James River, probably in November 1864; a fragment of a glass-plate image shows a card game going on inside the quarters of army doctor Davis McKay; a group of officers, an African American, and a civilian pose in front of a signal tower, one of a series of towers used to transmit messages via flags or torches that were set up west of Bermuda Hundred; a group of African American teamsters, identified as "contrabands"—escaped slaves who took refuge with the army—are dressed in old Union uniforms; and an advertisement for the undertaker Dr. Bunnell, who hastily set up shop near the Army of the James, promises "EMBALMING FREE FROM ODOR OR INFECTION."

Original Author: Unknown

Created: 1864

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Soldiers' encampment

Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Army of the James, June 1864-April 1865.

Original Author: Unknown

Created: June 1864–April 1865

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Men Playing Cards

Original Author: Unknown

Created: 1861–1865

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Signal tower, Bermuda Hundred, Virginia

Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Army of the James, June 1864-April 1865. Shows an African American man standing along with signal core.

Original Author: Unknown

Created: 1864

Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

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  • Army of the James

    Images by Union photographers capture scenes in Virginia in and around the Army of the James, an independent command created in April 1864 and placed under the leadership of Union general Benjamin F. Butler. The photos show various aspects of wartime life, including both light-hearted moments and some of the uncomfortable realities: "Adams Express for the Army of the James"—pictured here in 1864, in Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, where the army was headquartered—was a company that specialized in transporting dead bodies in a safe and sanitary manner; soldiers have set up tents next to the earthen walls protecting the Union's Fort Burnham (known as Fort Harrison when controlled by the Confederates) on Butler's lines north of the James River, probably in November 1864; a fragment of a glass-plate image shows a card game going on inside the quarters of army doctor Davis McKay; a group of officers, an African American, and a civilian pose in front of a signal tower, one of a series of towers used to transmit messages via flags or torches that were set up west of Bermuda Hundred; a group of African American teamsters, identified as "contrabands"—escaped slaves who took refuge with the army—are dressed in old Union uniforms; and an advertisement for the undertaker Dr. Bunnell, who hastily set up shop near the Army of the James, promises "EMBALMING FREE FROM ODOR OR INFECTION."

    Original Author: Unknown

    Created: 1864

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Soldiers' encampment

    Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Army of the James, June 1864-April 1865.

    Original Author: Unknown

    Created: June 1864–April 1865

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

  • Signal tower, Bermuda Hundred, Virginia

    Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Army of the James, June 1864-April 1865. Shows an African American man standing along with signal core.

    Original Author: Unknown

    Created: 1864

    Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph

    Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division