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.

Custer's Resolve

Resolved to fight against a much larger cavalry force, Custer thwarted Stuart at Gettysburg on 3 July, 1863 with a magnificent plan - and stopped the Confederate Cavalry from penetrating the back of the Union Fishhook while Picket simultaneously charged from the front. Lee's grand pincer strategy failed and Custer was part of the reason why.

Custer and the Union Cavalry knew Stuart was coming, but what many don't realize is that Custer was outnumbered 10 to 1. As was his custom, Custer had prepared by reconnoitering the battlefield well ahead of time - with a view to charging from concealed woods and positioning dismounted rifle cavalry in defensive spots to fend off Stuart's Ploy. Mounted or dismounted, Custer's terrain-shielded men with repeating Spencer rifles helped win the engagement. Spencer rifles could out-fire slower firearms at a rate of up to 8 to 1, greatly evening the odds.

Some hold that this Gettysburg Action on what is now known as the East Cavalry Field was possibly Custer's finest contribution to American History, and that he deserves greater acclaim. Had Custer also planned as well in 1876 against the much larger Sioux force at the Little Big Horn 13 years later the outcome might have been different.

But for Custer at Gettysburg; Well Done - Well Planned - Well Won.

The simple pencil portrait was completed from three period photographs and eyewitness accounts.

Time Of Execution: 20 Hours
Technique And Media: Graphite rendering, prismacolor, gouache
Size: 11" x 14"

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