This is a picture from the Civil War showing a field telegraph station. It was taken near Wilcox's Landing, Virginia, in 1864.
It is amazing how much was involved in creating these old Civil War photographs. Today, photography is mainly about artistic aspects like composition, exposure, shutter speed and such. Back in the Civil War, the cameras were very large, and the negatives were large glass plates. Before each exposure, there was lots of chemistry that had to go on in a dark wagon nearby to create the glass negative. In reading the process to create the negative, prior to taking the photograph, I gained a new sense of appreciation for Mathew Brady, and the photographers working for him. Today, with digital cameras and cheap memory cards, we don't think near as much about setting the pictures up and getting the perfect shot.