Gettysburg Illustrations - WileyStudio

Doc reenacted as a Battlefield Illustrator-Photographer, and Dixie as an Ice Angel-Photographer. Eventually, the full color, black and white, and period-style Illustrations will cover most key events and personages of the battle held to be the turning point of the American Civil War.

INTERESTING NOTES ON CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD ILLUSTRATORS: Alfred Waud, Frank Vizetelly, and other Civil War Battlefield Illustrators were civilian artists who produced artworks as they followed both Union and Confederate Armies throughout the war. Their initial quick battlefield sketches were further developed in camp, then sent by horse couriers or blockade runners for conversion into engravings in publications such as Harper's Weekly, The New York Illustrated News, and The Illustrated London News. In this way, live action battlefield events were brought to American and European audiences quickly - for the time - and made the Civil War the first conflict viewable in history as it unfolded. Photography was a new technology - so the photographic work of Gardner and Brady was not yet reproducible in printed publications. In addition, camera shutter speeds were slow and not capable of capturing live action - which is why the photography of the time tended to capture after-battle scenes, portraits, and static images - making the work of battlefield illustrators the only way to convey battlefield live action scenes. Illustrators like Waud and Vizetelly lived frequently with front line troops and were in much personal peril as they worked. A typical up to 30-minute pencil sketch was further rendered in camp or in the field then sent in to a publisher in as few as two days where the conversion into wood block or metal plate engravings were made by a team of artists for printing and distribution to a waiting public. Waud, following the Army Of The Potomac worked for Northern publications and could get his work published fairly quickly, but Vizetelly - following the Army Of Northern Virginia - faced the added constraint of having to send his work to The Illustrated London News via blockade runners from Wilmington, North Carolina. Of interest; there was a Northern Bounty on both Vizetelly AND his work - as it was considered propaghanda against the north. Such was the commitment of Battlefield Illustrators and publishers at the time. Illustrated newspapers with Civil War Battlefield Scenes were in very high demand and sometimes sold more than 300.000 copies per issue.

Buford's Stand

On the morning of 1 July, 1863; the first of three days of battle at Gettysburg, Union General John Buford, Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, anticipated the arrival of Confederate General Henry Heth’s infantry division west of the Town of Gettysburg. After quickly assessing the surrounding terrain and knowing the acute value of taking the high ground, Buford chose a defensive position, dismounted his troopers, and began fighting a delaying action with Spencer repeating rifles against ever increasing numbers of oncoming Confederates.

Buford’s stand allowed General Reynolds’ 1st Corp and eventually the rest of the Union Army of the Potomac to arrive in time to take the high ground on Cemetery Ridge and form the Union defensive “Fishhook” from which they repulsed Lee’s assaults for the remainder of the battle. In short, Buford is credited with selecting the ground upon which the Battle of Gettysburg was fought and his stand bought time that led to Union victory.

John Buford was a West Pointer who was born in Kentucky and lived in Illinois. In his first cavalry action he was wounded in the knee at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run and recovered to fight at South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, and Upperville. Brandy Station, where Buford did his part in fighting Jeb Stuart on 9 June, 1863, was the largest cavalry engagement of the war, involving approximately 20,500 predominately cavalry combatants. It was at Brandy Station that Union Cavalry first proved equal to Confederate Cavalry though the South held the field in the end. After Gettysburg, Buford pursued Lee but fell ill, probably with typhoid, and died on 16 December, 1863. For his gallantry and competent service, Lincoln promoted him to Major General on his deathbed, and Buford was buried at Arlington National Cemetery thereafter.

“Buford’s Stand” was illustrated using a familiar period photograph taken when a Brigadier General. Uniform, rank epaulets, and brass accessories are correct, and liberty was taken to include Sam Elliot’s frayed Cavalry hat and Meerschaum-style pipe from the movie “Gettysburg”. Buford’s binocular straps hang over his shoulders.



Time of Execution: 18 hours
Technique / Media: Etched Graphite, PrismaColor, Gauche on Blue Construction Paper
Size: 11” x 14”

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