Could the Union have secured a turning point as early as the ninth month of the Civil War?! The initial Civil War stalemate, after all, supposedly lasted for several interminable years. That myth, based on a misleading stress on the eastern theater of war, flourished long before the present appetite for visual images. But Civil War photographs have strengthened the misconception. Most photographers snapped pictures in the East. For more than three years, as that photographic record reveals, the Confederacy's and Union's eastern armies fought indecisively between Richmond and Washington.
In the western theater, however, the war took an early decisive turn, one that ultimately turned around the eastern theater. Film could seldom capture the western breakthrough, not with most photographers clicking shutters hundreds of miles eastward. Nor could a critical cause of the turning point be photographed, for no skin deep picture could expose the hearts and minds of borderland whites. Words alone can demonstrate that the Union's western armies exploited the borderland's home-front attitudes at a