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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 ]


Currier & Ives and Contemporaries:

Mathews: Shiloh Spring
A.E. Mathews. "Shiloh Spring." Ca. 1862. Two tone lithograph by Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. 6 1/8 x 8 5/8. Very good condition.

A rare Civil War scene of Shiloh Spring, drawn sometime around the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. The image shows four mounted Union soldiers and an infantryman filling his canteen at the spring. This print is a lithograph after a sketch by A.E. Mathews, a soldier in the 31st. Ohio Volunteer Regiment. Mathews, who went on to considerable fame as a lithographic artist of western scenes, worked as an artist before the war and he continued this work once he had joined the Union army. Mathews drew not only this image, but also one of the Shiloh Church (after which the battle was named) and one of the battle itself. These prints may have been commissioned by Mathews from Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., with hopes of selling them to the public back home as frameable prints or possibly in a portfolio. Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co. are particularly known for the Civil War portraits, but they also issued a portfolio of views in West Virginia after another Ohio soldier, J. Nep Roesler that may have inspired Mathews to try his luck with a series of Civil War scenes. Whatever its nature, this project appears to have been unsuccessful as the prints are very rare.

The battle of Shiloh was one of the fiercest of the Civil War and Ohio volunteer troops were intimately involved; about one-fifth of the Union army at the battle was comprised of troops from the buckeye state. This image shows scattered tree trunks, which may have been the result of the army gathering fire wood, but more likely was the result of the cannon and rifle fire during the battle. $250

Parade amrch of 22d Regt. NYSM
Firth Pond & Co. "Parade March of the 22d Regt. N.Y.S.M. Union-Greys. Composed & Respectfully inscribed to the Officerss & Members of the 22d Regt. by F.B. Helmsmüller." Boston & New York: O. Ditson & Co., 1862. 12 7/8 x 9. Chromolithograph by Major & Knapp. Light smudging in margins. Cover only (no sheet music). Held in collections of Library of Congress and Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins. $225

John B. Bachelder. "The Army of the Potomac. The Wagon Trains of the Army of the Potomac en Route From Chickahominy to James River Va. During the Seven Days Fight (Fording Bear Creek One Mile Below Savage Station) June 29th 1862." Boston: J.B. Bachelder, 1863. Tinted lithograph by J.H. Bufford. 17 x 27 (image) plus margins. Very good condition.

An excellent Civil War print by Jonathan B. Bachelder showing the Army of the Potomac crossing Bear Creek, on June 29th, 1862, with wonderful realism and detail. Bachelder (1825-1894) was a highly esteemed artist of the period, who was known to have spent considerable time during the Civil War in the field, making on-the-spot sketches. This print is clearly based on such sketches, and it is an excellent representation of what must have been a typical scene. The huge baggage train of the Army stretches off in many columns into the distance, where a dust cloud arises on the horizon. Once the river is reached, Bachelder depicts the difficulties of crossing with the wagons. In the foreground, those soldiers that have made it to the other side are seen lounging under trees, sitting around campfires, and generally setting up camp to wait for the rest of the Army. Harry T. Peters, in America on Stone, calls this a rare and fine print. It is indeed a wonderful look at non-battle life in the Union Army. $1,800

Battle of Weldon Rail-Road
R. Holland. "Battle of the Weldon Rail-Road." Boston: J.H. Bufford, ca. 1864. 17 5/8 x 26 1/4. Sepia tinted lithograph. Margins complete. Some tears in image. Some repaired surface blemishes. Overall image and condition is very good.

A dramatic view of the Battle of the Weldon Railroad on August 21st. 1864, with two smaller vignettes in the upper corners showing the actions of August 18th and 19th. This battle, also known as the Battle of Globe Tavern or the Battle of Six Mile House, involved an attempt by the Union troops under Warren to cut off communication of the Confederate troops with Richmond using this rail line. The tracks of the railroad can be seen cutting across the main image, with the Federal front extending across the picture. The viewpoint from behind the Union line, with the Confederate line barely visible in the distance, combined with the realism of the scenes, leads to the supposition that R. Holland produced his images on the spot. The Union front consists of infantry and cannons, with ammunition carriages, messengers, officers and the wounded and dead shown behind the front line. The image is finely rendered and lithographed, presenting an almost photographic feel to the print. A fascinating and rare Civil War print. $875

Endicott: Bombdm't Ft. Fisher
J.F. Laycock. "Bombardment of Fort Fisher. Jan.15th. 1865." New York: Endicott & Co., 1865. 18 x 29 7/8. Lithotint. Good borders. Five vertical/folds with tears with numerous small tears in image. Upper left hand corner chipped. Print has been professionally conserved with archival backing. Bottom half of dedication missing. Fine condition.

In December of 1864, Grant sent Benjamin Butler to capture the city of Wilmington, N.C., from the sea. Capturing Ft. Fisher at the mouth of the Cape Fear River was necessary, and Butler's attempts failed. True to form, Grant did not back off but in the next month sent Major General Alfred Howe Terry (1827-90) with Admiral David Dixon Porter (1813-1891) to take the fort. This scene shows the opening bombardment by the naval force of 60 vessels and 627 guns as they bombarded the peninsula prior to 6,000 infantry and cavalry landing north of the fort. In the foreground is the Mound Battery which held out from dawn until 3:00 p m when the Union troops landed and cut off the Confederates on the peninsula. This large and dramatic piece of battle art shows the fall of the last Confederate stronghold on the Atlantic coast. $375

Kurz and Allison:

Battle of Five Forks
The Chicago firm of Kurz & Allison is well known for its production of commemorative prints of American historical scenes. Founded in 1880, the firm's avowed purpose was to design "for large scale establishments of all kinds, and in originating and placing on the market artistic and fancy prints of the most elaborate workmanship." Elaborate they certainly were- the majority of their prints being bright and dramatic, with action throughout the image. Drawn in a broad, graphic style that developed from Kurz's background as a muralist, these prints have a striking appearance that makes them not only interesting historical images but also excellent decorative prints.

All approx. 21 x 28. Chromolithographs. Very good condition, except as noted.

Louis Prang:

Prints from the Louis Prang firm. Boston, 1886-1887. Each 15 x 21 7/8. Chromolithographs. Very good condition, except as noted. A series of striking images of the rare and important Civil War series issued by Louis Prang between 1886 and 1888. In the early 1880s, Century Magazine had issued a very popular work entitled Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and the Kurz & Allison firm (cf. above) had issued a large chromolithograph of Gettysburg. In response to these, Louis Prang decided to issue a portfolio of 18 elaborate chromolithographs of important battles of the war. Prang termed his prints "aquarelle facsimile prints" to distinguish them from "mere" chromos. Prang claimed they were made by a "new and secret process", but primarily they were chromos done without any line work. They were based on watercolors commissioned by Prang and they were intended to be naturalistic and accurate, for Prang was aiming these prints for veterans and their descendants. Prang got testimonials on their accuracy from prominent veterans and he included detailed text on the battles involved. The prints were quite popular, helping to create a great surge in patriotic nostalgia about the war.

There were 18 prints in all: 6 of eastern battles, 6 of western battles, and 6 naval images. There was intended to be something for everyone, and Prang focused mostly on heroes who were still living at the time. The were issued either in a portfolio or separately for framing. At first they were issued in parts over time, but eventually were packaged into three groups: East/West/Naval. These are not to be confused with the more common later Prang chromos, also issued by the American Lithographic Company (cf. below). Not only are these more finely produced, but they are also much scarcer.

Other Prang Civil War prints: Boston, ca. 1888+. Each 15 x 21 1/2. Chromolithographs. Very good condition.

Prang also issued some less expensive versions of these still very attractive Civil War images beginning about 1888. These were reissued later by the American Lithographic Co. All of the following are from the latter reissue, unless identified otherwise.

Winslow Homer:

Winslow Homer was perhaps the finest artist who produced images for an illustrated weekly newspaper during the war. His first-hand drawings were reproduced by wood engraving and these scenes are among the finest and most current images available of the war.

"News from the War." 1862. 13 1/4 x 20 1/4. B94. Wood engraving. Very good condition. $175

GoGo to page with listing of more Homer Civil War prints, as well as other subjects by this artist

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