Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Lesson Plans > Civil War Photographs

Back to Lesson Plans

Brady's photo outfit in front of Petersburg, Va

[Detail] Brady's photo outfit in front of Petersburg, Va

Overview | Preparation | Procedure | Evaluation

Lesson Overview

The Civil War was the first American war thoroughly caught on film. Mathew Brady and his crew of photographers captured many images of this divisive war, ranging from portraits to battle scenes. These photographs--over 1,000--are in Selected Civil War Photographs 1861-1865 in American Memory.

Students become reporters, assigned to sort through these photographs and find one that will bring the war alive to their readers. They write a newspaper article based on their chosen photograph and publish it on the World Wide Web.


After completing this unit students will be able to:

  • Analyze photographs as primary sources.
  • Navigate the Civil War site.
  • Describe particular events of the Civil War in specific detail.


Time Required

  • Two weeks

Recommended Grade Level

  • 6-8
  • 9-12


  • Photographs, Prints and Posters
  • Civil War


  • Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877


Amy Donnelly and Elizabeth Ridgway