Photography came to us smilingly and trippingly, fragrant with meadows and beautiful with landscapes, seemingly the handmaid of Peace. She had a bucolic air. Vague rumor, it is true, stated that she was not quite the pastoral maid that the popular imagination painted her; that she used gun-cotton liberally in the making of her toilette, and indulged in vitreous acids and sulphuric mixtures with unbecoming freedom. But all such rumors floated unheeded by, or were but noticed to be stamped as slanders. Consequently, one may be pardoned for starting with surprise when she suddenly flashes from the clouds, helmeted, plumed, and be-belted, at once the Minerva and the Clio of the war.

Generals have taken her into their councils. She is employed to map out roads and lines where other hands fail. Our army has a corps of photographical engineers as well as topographical ones. Experiments upon the walls of forts with shot and shell, the damage done a vessel, the respective merits of military inventions, all these are recorded by the art with more of promptitude and fidelity that tongue or pen can achieve. It is even said that the passage of a cannonball through the air can be photographed — that the double-barreled lens of the sun battery shoots, as it were, the ferrigunous sphere as it flies. But this we mainly doubt For experience teaches that cannonballs, when they come into company, unlike model little boys, are heard and not seen.

Among the many sun-compellers Mr. BRADY deserves honorable recognition as having been the first to make Photography the Clio of the war. On the disastrous day of Bull Run he stood upon the field with camera and chemicals, and would have photographed the retreat, had it not been conducted with too much rapidity. And since, his artists have accompanied the army in nearly all its marches, planting their sun batteries by the side of our Generals’ more deathful ones, and “taking” towns and cities, forts and redans, with much less noise, and vastly more expedition. The result is a series of pictures christened “Incidents of the War,” and nearly as interesting as the war itself; for they constitute the history of it, and appeal directly to the great throbbing heart of the North. We have sent out our thousands to battle, and there is scarcely a hearth in the whole broad land that has not had its representative on each well-fought field. It was here that a son fleshed his maiden sword, here a father fell, here one brother won an epaulette, another an epitaph. Go into the Gallery when you may, and you will see crowds gathering around these pictures, some with tearful eyes, some with eyes that brim with pride, and all with swelling hearts. To one who has moved in the scenes represented, these pictures are pregnant with strange, sad reminiscences. The sun is a faithful limner, and omits not a stone nor a blade of grass in his subtle pencilings, and we can recognize every mound and every hillock; each has its own story, its own mournful significance. This clump of trees, for instance, whose trunks are scarred with shot like the faces of veterans, but whose leaves open themselves to this Summer as greenly and freshly as though the last year had not watered them with blood. You recognize the very sycamore to whose base a young Lieutenant had crawled to die. You knew him, when, a few seasons ago, as school-boys, you went nutting and bird-nesting together in the country. Poor boy! his own mother would not have known him when you saw him last, his broad brow cleft with a sabre stroke, his yellow hair clotted with blood, and the starry light faded from his blue eyes.

The minuteness with which even features are reproduced in these “Incidents.” is so remarkable that only the microscope can enable one to understand and appreciate it fully. Here, for instance, is a brigade of New-York Volunteers, drawn up on a photographic ground that your two hands’ breadth will cover. But watch the countenances of the group that bend over it, and you will see some maiden’s eye light up as she recognizes a lover among the many, some matron’s lip quiver as her eye detects the form and features of husband or son.

Another interest attaches to these pictures. There are many who must stand with their hands to the plow, the loom or the anvil, while their brothers go out to fight the battles of God. Up in the country starry names come flashing; names of men, who, a few months ago, were quietly sowing or reaping the harvest, dreamless of any greater glory or loftier ambition, but who have now suddenly flung the shuttle of their genius across the world and woofed future ages with the golden tissue of their fame. Of many of these men we have only heard, and with their faces and features we are as unacquainted as with the moon; to all intents and purposes, they are as brilliant but as distant from us as planets; it is a pleasure to have these planets photographed, and be upon whispering terms with the Generals who are now to the nation as gods.

The enterprise which begets these battle pictures is worthy of support as well as praise. Appealing as they do to the popular heart, they can scarcely fail of success. In one point of view their value can scarcely be overrated. They present a panorama of the war, faithful as is everything that comes from the studio of the Sun, that impartial artist, whose only study is truth. From these pictures the historian will gather material for his pages; for the embrasures of earthworks and the walls of fortresses will crumble and resolve themselves into dust, while the colors of their photographic counterparts will only have deepened and fastened with time. And here a wonder suggests itself, that the substance should fade and the shadow imperishably remain. Again we remark, should the enterprise of Mr. BRADY full to secure success amid the blare of trumpets and the beat of drums, it will surely be recognized when we shall have smoothed the wrinkles of war from our weary brows, and swept from them the crimson blossoms of battle, to bind them instead with the sweet silver lilies of peace.