The American Civil War was one of the greatest conflicts in American history. It began on April 12, 1861, with the Battle of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, and lasted for five years. Before and during the Civil War, the North and South differed greatly on economic issues. The war was about slavery, but primarily about its economic consequences. Here below is a collection of spectacular original and colorized photos of the civil war. It features portraits of famous leaders and ordinary soldiers and vignettes of American life during the conflict: scenes from urban and plantation life, destroyed cities, and contested battlefields.