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Richmond Ironclads at Trent's Reach

Digital-Age Views of the Civil War

Civil War-era cameras created negatives of huge dimensions, far superior to typical photo prints, then and now. The Library of Congress has scanned about 7,000 of these negatives as high-resolution files and posted them online. By exploring the images through digital enhancements, even the most familiar photographs can reveal new details, as shown below and through the slides that follow.
Historic Image and detail 
Library of Congress photo: LC-DIG-cwpb-02871.  Right: Enlarged section of the photo shows a likely fragment of an ironclad.

Drewry’s Bluff: A Graveyard of the Confederate Navy’s James River Squadron, 1865.
The left image is an oft-seen view. Enlarging its high-resolution file reveals that left of the three trees the dark blob on the James River's distant shore is a shattered wooden mass sheathed with long plates. Two wrecked ironclads lie submerged in front of it, so it is probably evidence of their destructionand is likely a hull fragment blown from the armored belt along the ironclad's waterline. This chunk almost certainly doubles the photographic record of the three James River ironclads: the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Virginia II. Prior to this discovery, the only other known photos of the Confederate warships were images of the Virginia II's smokestack.
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