Confederate dead on the battlefield, Ewell's Corps, Spotsylvania, 1864. Mads Madsen /

By Liana Jacob

A UNIQUE INSIGHT into the Civil War Confederates has been brought to light in the form of rare photographs that have been enriched with colour.

The authentically colourised pictures depict the tragic circumstances of the war with two dead men lying on the ground in Maryland, USA; a confederate buried and a federal unburied.

Robert E. Lee on Porch. Mads Madsen /


Other photos include a portrait of American confederate soldier and commander of the Confederates States of America, Robert Edward Lee, and Lewis Powell Payne, who conspired with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, leaning against a wall.

Further images expose the aftermath of the war with a confederate soldier in Petersburg, Virginia, lying lifelessly on the ground with blood on his face.

The vintage photographs were carefully colourised by CEO, Mads Madsen (23), from Horsens, Denmark, who spent between 12 to 14 hours to colourise the pictures of the dead men at Dunker Church and Antietam alone.

Dead in front of Dunker Church, Antietam, MD. Mads Madsen /


“You’re seeing Confederate soldiers; both good and bad, deceased or alive, out on the battlefield or in a studio getting their pictures taken,” Mads said.

“You’re seeing the ‘enemy’, so to speak, as you would be seeing the Germans of the Second World War. Only a handful of Confederate images survived the war, compared to the amount of Union images, so you’re getting a rare insight into a time long forgotten.

“I’m pretty good at distancing myself from the subject matter and working in bits and pieces, bit-by-bit – so rather than looking at the image as a whole, I look at it in bite-sized pieces; which definitely makes everything a whole lot easier.”

Portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee, officer of the Confederate Army. Mads Madsen /


The American Civil War began from 1861 to 1865, a consequence of the enduring slavery that was bestowed upon predominantly Africans and African-Americans that resided in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, closely following the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, whose group supported the banning of slavery in all the US territories.

“They’re a piece of history, a cultural treasure – it’s an insight into a certain set of people who might not agree with the same things we agree with today and who might have made a lot of mistakes, but at the end of the day, they’re just as human as you and I,” Mads said.

Petersburg, Virginia. Dead Confederate soldier in trenches before Petersburg. Mads Madsen /


“Having studied the Civil War as much as I have, I find it very significant when I find a high quality, well-preserved, and digitalised photograph of a Confederate; so it’s a lot more significant than a Union soldier or Officer, which adds to my ‘need’ to bring it to life.”

Out of the photographs, Mads’ favourite from the collection is either the Lewis Payne portrait or the Samuel Arnold portrait.

“They’re just so conventionally handsome, they look as if they could have walked straight out of a clothing catalogue,” he said.

“They don’t look like criminals who played a hand in one of the biggest political upheavals in modern history, but there they are, as clear as day.”

General James Longstreet. Mads Madsen /

Striking images like these are featured in British author Michael D. Carroll’s new book on the colourisation of historical images. For more information visit: