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A Nation Divided.  The Civil War in contemporary prints
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Scenes of the Civil War

[ Battles & Events | Currier & Ives and contemporaries | Kurz & Allison | Prang & Co. | Winslow Homer | Small illustrations ]


Small illustrations of the Civil War

Even before the Civil War finished, history books and various magazines began to include small prints showing scenes of events in the Civil War. These were mostly steel engravings, but lithography and wood engraving was also used. Some were done quickly and crudely, but others were produced with great care and considerable accuracy. Most of these prints were issued within a decade of the war, so they did provide the American public with contemporary images of the war.

Prints from Samuel M. Schmucker's The History of the Civil War in the United States. Its Cause, Origin, Progress and Conclusion. Revised and completed by Dr. L. P. Brockett. Philadelphia: Jones Bros. & Co. and Chicago: Zeigler, McCurdy & Co, 1865, On sheets 6 1/2 x 9 3/4. Engravings and lithographs. Some occasional light spots or other blemishes. Overall, very good condition.

In 1863, even before the Civil War ended, historian Samuel Mosheim Schmucker (1823-1863) produced A History of the Civil War: with a preliminary views of its causes, and biographical sketches of its heroes. Schmucker died that same year, but his work was revised and completed by after the war by L.P. Brockett (1820-1893). The second edition, according to the title page, contained "full, impartial and graphic descriptions of the various military and naval engagements, with the heroic deeds achieved by armies and individuals, touching scenes and incidents in the camp, the cabin, the field and the hospital. And biographical sketches of its heroes." This edition was also expanded in its illustrations. The first edition contained engravings of scenes from the Civil War mezzotinted by John Sartain and his son Samuel, including some terrific nighttime marine images. The second edition added lithographed scenes, along with portraits and maps, at least some identified as being lithographed by the important Philadelphia firm of P.S. Duval & Son. These are quite rare and unusual contemporary images of the Civil War.

Monitor and Merrimac
Engravings. Ca. 4 x 6 1/4.

Lithographs. Ca. 5 1/2 x 8.

GoGo to list of other illustrations from Schmucker's work

Riot in Baltimore
Prints from J.T. Headley's The Great Rebellion, A History of the Civil War in the United States. Hartford, Connecticut: Hurlbut, Williams, & Co., 1862-3. Image sizes approximately 4 1/2 x 7. Engravings.

Battle of Cumberland Gap
Prints by the American Publishing Company. Connecticut, 1865. Engravings.

Prints after Alonzo Chappel (except as noted). From Battles of the United States by Sea and Land. New York: Johnson, Fry & Co., ca. 1865. Image size varies approximately 5 x 8. Steel engravings.

Retreat from Manassas
Prints from The Great Civil War. New York: Virtue & Yorston, 1863-65. Image size approximately 5 x 7 1/2. Engravings.

Bombardment of Fort Sumter
Prints from John S.C. Abbott's The History of the Civil War in America. New York: Henry Bill, 1866. Image sizes approximately 4 1/2 x 7 1/2. Engravings.

Misc. wood engravings:

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop July 14, 2021