The Earliest Combat Photographs: 1863-1915

I have researched early military photography for a few years online and have found there is no conclusive list of the earliest combat photography and so I have set out to make one. Combat photography can be differentiated from other types of war photography in that the action of battle can be seen occurring in the photograph. The first war photography took place in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) by an anonymous photographer, but it wasn’t until the American Civil War (1861-1865) that the first combat photos were taken. Because of the limitations posed by the time and complexity it took to take a photo in the mid-to-late 1800’s made it difficult to obtain images during battles but a few of naval actions did emerge. There was also not a tradition of journalists and artists putting their lives on the line for an image. The overall amount of combat photography before World War One was small, but a few images did emerge from a few courageous and pioneering people. By the time of World War One governments saw the value in having large numbers of photographers to document conflicts for propaganda purposes and improved camera technology allowed combat photographers to routinely capture most iconic images of many conflicts. This video is dedicated to all of the photojournalists who have lost their lives while documenting conflicts.

First war photographs from the Mexican-American War:
Documentary excerpt showing first war footage from the Spanish-American War:
Possibly the first naval combat footage during the Russo-Japanese War:
Documentary about the first infantry combat footage from World War One in 1916:
First police siege footage from the Siege of Sydney Street in London in 1911:

This famous Antietam photo has been proven not to be of combat or from the the actual day of the battle:

Boer War Photograph Information:

1863 Fort Sumter Photograph Information:

1863 Morris Island Photograph Information:

1885 Battle of Batoche Photographs Information:

1904 Russo-Japanese War Photographs:

Philippine Insurrection Photographs Information:

Philippine Revolution (Tagalog War) against the Spanish photographs information:

Philippine-American War Photographs:

1911 Italo-Turkish War photograph of dirigles:

1913 Balkan War Photographs:

Le Miroir’s 1915 photo of shell exploding among French infantry dragoons:

Music is from the Gettysburg soundtrack by Randy Edelman and the Glory soundtrack by James Horner.

Tags: 1846, 1847, 1848, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1864, 1865, 1870, 1871, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1904, 1905, 1910, 1912, 1914, Puerto Rico, Cuba, San Juan Hill, USS Oregon, Russia, Russians, Germans, Eastern Front, rare, unpublished,

If you have information on more combat photographs that are pre-WW1 then please feel free to share and discuss them here. If you liked this then subscribe because I plan to release more videos like this in the future.There are many more links that I will gradually try to add.