[Unidentified woman, possibly Mrs. James Shields, in mourning dress and brooch showing Confederate soldier and holding young boy wearing kepi]
The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. The Confederate States Army was the military ground force of the Confederate States. Many Army's records have been destroyed, army soldiering was not a constant occupation - it was not unusual for soldiers to take a leave of absence to tend to their farms. It is a fair estimate, however, that soldiers counted between 750,000 to one million total. The Confederacy's volunteer or recruited soldiers were from many ethnic groups. Under the commands of Robert E. Lee and Samuel Cooper, soldiers of the Confederacy lived by the Motto “Deo Vindice” (God will vindicate us).
There are not many details distinguishing the Confederates from the Union soldiers in many of portrait photographs - they really were from the same country, the same culture. One of the differences that you do find is the less uniform appearance of Confederates: they are much less standard, often wearing bits and pieces of cast-off Union Army uniforms and often, even weaponry. One thing that’s specific to the Confederates is huge Bowie knives, humorously called ‘Arkansas toothpicks,’ often made by local blacksmiths.