Two minutes. That's all the time it took for President Abraham Lincoln to deliver his 271-word Gettysburg Address, a speech as famous for its quiet eloquence as its groundbreaking brevity.
But to whom did he speak? Above all, Lincoln was addressing the soldiers on both sides of this terrible war. Men, old and young, listened to the president outline what — and for whom — they were fighting. It was a solemn address for a solemn time.
Below, is a selection of soldier and family portraits, still in their ornate, keepsake frames. For many of the men, these tiny, palm-sized ambrotypes might have been their first and last representation. The set-ups were meant to capture what the men held dear as they went off to battle — whether a lock of a loved-ones hair or a photo of the comrades by their side.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.