August 22nd, 2012: Rappahannock Station
Posted on: 08/23/2012
150 years ago today the Union Army of Virginia and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia were engaged in skirmishing along a relatively wide front near the Rappahannock River as they began a collision course that culminated in the Battle of Second Manassas. Photographers were in the area and captured glimpses that can tell us much about what is was like to be a soldiers involved in the Northern Virginia Campaign 150 years ago this month. Today we will examine a photograph take of a Union encampment near Rappahannock Station, Virginia.
Above is the image in its entirety. The photographer had his camera on some railroad tracks and captured a Union camp in motion.
While moving subjects in 1860's photography caused them to blur or become seemingly transparent, these effects can serve to remind us that the soldiers we read about and research were once living, breathing people.
Animals would have been very common in Civil War camps, and the mule located at the left of this zoom looks a little worse for wear. Certainly both the men and animals were having a hard time in the August heat.
And, after over a year of war, many of the structures in Northern Virginia were not looking so good, either. For some of the soldiers, however, even a rundown railroad building provided a valued commodity in the summer hear- reliable shade.
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