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.

Bayonets !!!

Even among the many recognized Northern and Southern heros of Gettysburg Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Commander of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, stands out.

Having held the extreme left flank of the Union Army on Little Round Top until ammunition had almost run out, Chamberlain ordered the 20th Maine to perform what many hold to be the most famous bayonet charge of American History.

During the afternoon of 2 July, 1863; the Second Day of Gettysburg, General Hood’s Division of Longstreet’s Corps had made repeated assaults against the end of the Union Line to dislodge it and secure victory at Gettysburg. But, the Union Line held fast - the astonishing bayonet charge was made - and Chamberlain was credited for his part saving the pivotal battle of the Civil War and later won The Medal Of Honor.

Like other portraits in the Gettysburg Series an attempt was made to portray the character at a key point in the battle. But in addition, a greater amount of visual elements were included.

A familiar period photograph of General Chamberlain was modified to show his correct rank as Colonel at the time he ordered the charge; arm raised, shouting “BAYONETS!” And, possibly interesting to some; Actor Jeff Daniels’ facial expression from that open-mouthed moment in the Movie “Gettysburg” was used as a prop, and Chamberlain is shown battle-worn; as he surely would have been.

Recent historically-related events strongly influenced the included elements of the illustration. The original Congressional Medal Of Honor (CMH) Chamberlain was awarded 11 August, 1893 was discovered in mid-September of 2013, 150 years after the Battle of Gettysburg, and the story surfaced one day after I started the portrait. It was tucked in the back of a book bought at a Church bizarre in Maine. The CMH is shown, along with a less-battered representation of the original concentric-star Union Flag born by the 20th Maine that day at Gettysburg. The Flag, retired after Gettysburg due to wear, was also recently authenticated, and both the CMH (thanks to an anonymous donor) and Flag are on display; possessions of the State Of Maine.

Other elements of the illustration: 20th Maine graphics, three bayonets, a portion of Little Round Top, and Chamberlain’s portrait as Governor against an outline of the State Of Maine. The Colonel’s Eagle Epaulet and Infantry Officer “I” Buttons are accurate to the time, rank, and uniform attire.

Time of Execution: 40 hours
Technique / Media: Etched graphite, gouache, and mixed media on sepia paper.
Size: 11” x 14”

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