Retouching History:

The Modern Falsification of a Civil War Photograph

Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite, Jr.


This website discusses a Civil War-era posed studio photograph of unidentified black Union soldiers with a white officer. This photograph was the basis for a well-known poster used by the Federal army to recruit black soldiers in the Philadelphia area. The studio photograph has been deliberately falsified in recent years by an unknown person/s sympathetic to the Confederacy. This falsified or fabricated photo, purporting to be of the 1st Louisiana Native Guards (Confederate), has been taken to promote Neo-Confederate views, to accuse Union propagandists of duplicity, and to show that black soldiers were involved in the armed defense of the Confederacy. Here we provide background to the original Civil War-era photograph and discuss why we believe its modern copy is a falsification; we also detail our conjectures as to how this falsification was accomplished.

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This site was created in March 2007.