Burying the Dead Photograph, 1865

John Reekie, "A Burial Party, Cold Harbor, Virginia," 1865, via Library of Congress.

John Reekie, “A Burial Party, Cold Harbor, Virginia,” 1865, via Library of Congress.

Death pervaded every aspect of life during the years of the Civil War. This gruesome photograph, taken after the battle of Cold Harbor, shows the hasty burial procedures used to reckon with unprecedented death. Dirty jobs like this were often left to black soldiers or freedpeople in Contraband Camps.